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UARR delivers Human Right’s keynote speech at OFL’s Annual Educational Equity Retreat

February 27, 2015

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) has a historical relationship with the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). This morning, Executive Director Jason Merai shared the history of the UARR, it’s partnerships with communities, and the struggle for Human Rights,  at OFL’s Annual Educational Equity Retreat.

International Women’s Day Rally – Saturday March 7th #IWDTO2015

February 26, 2015


UARR Participation in OIPRD/SIU Joint Director’s Resource Committee

February 20, 2015

UARR President Gary Pieters, along with representatives of key sectors, and community organizations attended the Joint OIPRD/SIU Director’s Resource Committee in Toronto, on Thursday, February 19th, 2015. At the meeting the director of the OIPRD Gerry McNeill and DIU Director Tony Loparco addressed a number of items on the Director’s Resource Committee – GTA – Feb 19 2015 Agenda and provided updates on a variety of discussion topics, issues and trends, as well as received questions, and input from participants.

At the meeting Mr. Pieters urged the civilian oversight bodies to consider implementing a regular community consultation/advisory mechanism to receive feedback and discuss concerns on a continuing basis from the public. He also reinforced that it was public advocacy, and public support that led to the creation of these civilian oversight institutions and that it is important that their mandates in the public interest continue to be visible through awareness, information sharing, social media and outreach efforts.

PLI – “What We Can Learn from Policing and Public Safety in Toronto”

February 17, 2015


The Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) is proud to feature the following report created by the Policing Literacy Initiative (PLI).

Last year’s tragic events in the U.S. reminded us that the world is in need of helpful, constructive ideas regarding policing and public safety. Over the past 3 months, the Policing Literacy Initiative (PLI) completed a review of key law enforcement agencies and public safety institutions in Toronto to spotlight helpful, constructive ideas.
PLI’s review has culminated in the report below, which is also available at

PLI’s goal is for cities around the world – with particular emphasis on the U.S. – to learn from the strengths and weaknesses identified in this research. They also hope the Canadian agencies and institutions discussed in this report will use this review to continue improving their services to the Canadian public.



The Bridging Project: Seeking Participants for a Study on Reintegration of Somali Youth

February 17, 2015



Seeking Participants for a Study on Reintegration of Somali Youth

A research project to determine the effectiveness of policies, procedures and programs in North Etobicoke to help with the reintegration process of previously incarcerated Somali youth. Through one on one interviews and focus group discussions, The Bridging Project (TBP) will assess the accessibility and efficacy of reintegration programs in Toronto for young women and men who self-identify as Somali Canadian. A final report will be submitted to the City of Toronto that will include findings and recommendations.

Who can take part in the study?

Self Identifying Somali Men and Women who have been previously incarcerated.

Must live or previously lived in Etobicoke.

What will you do?

Take part in a face-to-face interview for 30-45 minutes, at a location of your choice.

All responses will remain confidential. Interviews may be audio recorded, with your permission. You may withdraw your participation at any time during an interview or a focus group discussion. You may also decline to respond to any questions. Discussions will be coded and analyzed to find emerging themes. 

Voluntary Participation:

Participation in this study is strictly voluntary. If you wish, you may decline to answer any questions or participate in any component of the study. Further, you may decide to withdraw from this study at any time and may do so without penalty or loss of benefits to which you are entitled. Participants will receive an Honorarium and TTC tokens.

About the UARR:

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) is a non-profit community based organization that has operated for more than 35 years to address inequality. We work primarily and proactively with the community, public and private sectors to provide educational programs and research through our non-profit charitable organization known as the Urban Alliance.


Jason Merai                                                                                                                              Jaafar Dirie

Executive Director                                                                                                        Organizer/Researcher                                                                                 

416.703.6607 x2                                                                                                                     416.703.6607


TYC Choose Your Chief Youth Survey

February 9, 2015


The Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC) is currently working on getting more youth voices into the conversation regarding the hiring of the new Police Chief and youth representation at the Police Services Board level. The Choose Your Chief Youth Survey  is a short series of questions developed by the TYC community safety working group. The survey was created to get the opinions and perspectives of young people about the next Police Chief in the City of Toronto and start the conversation about the larger issue of youth representation within the police decision making process. The TYC has secured an agenda spot at the next Toronto Police Service Board meeting on Feb 19th to present their feedback.

Participate by filling out:

Choose Your Chief Youth Survey

Survey open until Feb 16th,2015

For more info on the Choose Your Chief initiative please email


Canada Post Stamp Commemorate Nelson Mandela Connection to Canada and the World

January 28, 2015

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is pleased that Nelson Mandela’s connection to Canada has been memorialized on three Canada Post Stamps in honour of African Heritage/Black History Month 2015. Nelson Mandela’s courage, resilience, persistence and leadership in dismantling the apartheid system in South Africa was a journey embraced by Canadians from coast to coast.

The president of UARR Gary Pieters remembered that during his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto in the late 1980s-early 1990s, students at Canada’s largest university, urged and succeeded in getting the University of Toronto governing council to divest from South Africa, as part of many strategies used to show solidarity with the Anti-Aparthied movement, and dismantle the unjust system of apartheid that existed at that time in South Africa.

Mandela’s subsequent release from prison following 27 years behind bars and his triumphant victory at the polls as South Africa’s first Black President, led to the transformation of South Africa into a multiracial, multicultural and pluralist democracy.

His visit to Canada in 1990 included significant events in Toronto including the address to a large crowd of Torontonians at a public event on the lawns of Queen’s Park. The dedication of a public school – Nelson Mandela Park Public School – in his honour, and recently the City of Toronto approved the honourary naming of University Ave in his honour. As a fitting tribute, there will be the Spirit of Mandela Freedom Walk on June 20th, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of his visit to Toronto.

The UARR is pleased to lend our support and involvement in initiatives that celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela, an honourary citizen of Canada, and a great citizen of the world who has inspired many to become agents of progressive social change.

Nelson Mandela stamp unveiled by Canada Post


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