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Sudbury taking steps to overcome racism
SUDBURY -- People gathered on Sunday in front of the Sudbury courthouse to show their solidarity with protests in the U.S. over George Floyd's death.
Police say it was a peaceful protest, in stark contrast with violence gripping much of the U.S. in reaction to Floyd's death. He died in Minneapolis on May 25, after a police officer held his knee on his neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds.
Insp. Marc Brunette of the Greater Sudbury Police Service said officers here are committed to working proactively with all the communities they serve.
"We work proactively with various groups within our community through things like our diversity advisory committee and our aboriginal policing advisory committee who provide valuable information and continue to guide our organization to deliver police services within our community," said Brunette.
Public Health Sudbury and Districts says it has a racial equity action framework in place. The goal is to reduce systemic racism to ensure everyone has equal opportunities for health.
"We are continuing our work to build our own capacity and look inside our own doors to be able to assess and report on the way we do business," said Dana Wilson, manager of health equity.
"Systemic racism is difficult to identify, it's easier to see the outcomes that we do see across sectors and across life."
That framework includes partnering with the group 'ULU,' which stands for Humanity, Justice and Equity in South African. It was founded by people living in Sudbury who experience racism.
"ULU likes to look at everything," said Hediyeh Karimian, a co-founder of ULU. "Everyone has a story and their stories are unique to them. When you experience discrimination you need to have a support system, because you just can't walk that walk alone."
The group reaches out through school presentations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they are connecting with people through the internet.
"We are hosting zoom sessions at this time to give people a space to talk about things that they can do," said Kadre Gray another co-founder of ULU.
"(It) also gives them a space to share their own feelings. If you are angered, that's OK. If you want to cry, that is OK. We are with you."
ULU, Greater Sudbury Police and Public Health Sudbury and Districts say they will continue working to identify meaningful and sustainable changes to advance racial equality.