North Bay group lobbying city council to create racial equity committee
Vijanti Ramlogan is a member of a group lobbying city council in North Bay to create a racial equity committee and stand up against racism in the area. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)
NORTH BAY -- A North Bay book club is lobbying city council to create a racial equity committee and stand up against racism in the area.
The group got the idea after reading a book called "...But I'm Not Racist!" And the reaction to the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis -- and the subsequent movements against racial profiling and police brutality that sprouted up – is helping drive the current push for the committee.
"We have about 20 per cent of the population that are Indigenous and people of colour in our community," said one of the members, Vijanti Ramlogan.
Ramlogan wants North Bay to be an open and inclusive city.
"We have heard stories that everyone has had a personal experience of micro aggression here and there or outright racism," said Ramlogan. "The point is we want an open and inclusive space for everyone."
The book club has written a letter with about 30 signatures so far and plans to turn it into city hall. The committee would help find solutions to systemic racism in the city.
"Everyone was calling for these type of committees," said Ramlogan. "There are committees in St. Catharines, for instance, where there is a wonderful mandate."
The city is now aware of the group's request and is hoping to schedule a meeting in the near future.
Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch says North Bay continues to do what it can to be welcoming.
"We can always do better. Everyone can do better," said Vrebosch in a Skype interview with CTV News. "We are a very welcoming community and we've done it with our immigration pilot project and we have a great relationship with the Nipissing First Nation."
The group hopes that with this committee in place, more people can learn about racism in all of its shapes and forms.