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Tamil and Somali Elders and youth: Building solidarity

September 20, 2017
The Urban Alliance on Race Relations,  would like to invite the public to attend the Plan of Action Summit happening on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at the North York Civic Centre from 5:30 – 9:00pm.
This summit is a capstone event for a two-year project engaging the Tamil and Somali communities in Toronto on issues relating to community engagement, policing, poverty, mental health, education and employment.
This project has been unique because it is the first of its kind to bring an ‘inter-generational’ lens to these topics as well as understand ways to develop cross-cultural solidarity.
Please make sure to register on Eventbrite as soon as possible as space is limited:
We look forward to having you join us!
Warm regards,
Urban Alliance on Race Relations Board

UARR at Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre’s AGM

September 20, 2017

On Thursday, September 14, 2017, a representative from the Urban Alliance on Race Relations was invited to address the 32nd annual general meeting of the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre (BBNC), an organization that works with a wide range of communities. Malika Mendez, Vice President of UARR, was proud to accept the invitation and act as keynote speaker for the event.

Malika brought greetings and well wishes for the ongoing success of BBNC from the Board, staff, members and friends of UARR. In addition, she highlighted the commonalities that are intrinsic to new Canadians and more established communities, and shared a message of respect, inclusion, shared humanity, and experiences. She further recommended fighting racism and discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, age, colour, or ethnic origin by engaging in the political process of voting, lobbying, and becoming involvee in a relevant organization.

Both UARR and BBNC share many of the same values of fostering diversity and promoting and practicing non-discrimination.

On behalf of UARR, our congratulations to BBNC, the Board of Directors, Executive Director, staff, members, friends, and program participants.

Malika Mendez Keynote Speaker at BBNC.JPG

Malika Mendez addressing BBNC’s AGM

Malika Mendez & BBNC Executive Director Enrique Robert

Malika Mendez and BBNC Executive Director Enrique Robert

Why have we not seen coverage of floods in South Asia?

August 29, 2017

Since August 25th.,  CBC and CTV have reported extensively about Hurricane Harvey and the impact on Houston. At last count up to 12 people (including a family of 6) may have died in the flooding. That number could rise as the waters recede.  Of course this is a human tragedy and the loss of life is devastating.

Contrast this however, with the coverage or non-converage of the overwhelming monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. Based on information from rescue works and government agencies the collective death toll for the 3 countries now surpasses 1200. To quote Al Jazeera “millions of people stranded by the worst such disaster in years” are struggling to cope.

One is motivated to ask an obvious question. Why is the reporting of  similar events on 2 continents receive  such un-even coverage? Is the human tragedy unfolding in South Asia of lesser consequence than that in the US South? And why are 1200 deaths of  Nepalese, Banglasdeshis and Indians being ignored or glossed over.

Our major news outlets need to examine their editorial choices. With Canada’s changing demographics it is important for them to recognize that many Canadians want to see, hear and read about those parts of the World that are part of their heritage. Let us urge them to become more inclusive and universal in their coverage of major events.

Malika Mendez,

Vice-President, Board of Directors, UARR

It seems that unprovoked attacks are becoming the norm – so that once again Black Mothers fear for their son’s lives.

July 26, 2017

For immediate release

It seems that unprovoked attacks are becoming the norm – so that once again Black Mothers fear for their son’s lives.

A young black man -Defonte Miller-out with his friends was beaten viciously and severely injured by two white adults. The attack raises the spectre of behaviours that most of us thought were confined to the US South prior to the Selma marches.

Young Defonte Miller is lucky to have escaped with his life. But what a life it will now become, for it is forever scarred by the brutality of an off-duty cop and his civilian brother. It is a horrendous situation for his entire family.

It is absolutely despicable that young people of colour are being harassed, intimidated and brutalized by those who are charged with ensuring public safety and security.

How can Black youth have confidence in the police? Defonte it appears was doing nothing wrong (all charges have been dropped against him).

What message does this send to Black youth who may need the protection of the law if the law is applied selectively or used against them. What message does it send to the families of Black youth and indeed to all people of colour who may seek the protection of the justice system in Ontario?

The UARR urges the Government to move swiftly to ensure that an incident of this kind never happens again. The Premier and the Minister for Community Safety must act decisively to bring justice to Defonte and his family to restore the public’s confidence in our justice system. The Mayor’s of Toronto and Whitby and their respective councils must respond immediately.

And now more than ever, they should demonstrate their support for this young Black man and his family.


Board of Directors UARR

Celebrating #Canada150 mindful of and opposed to the injustices their based

July 1, 2017

Greetings UARR Community, Family and Friends,

On the 150th anniversary of Confederation we at UARR recognize the Indigenous Territories on which we live and the violence against our First Peoples that accompanied the creation of the Canadian State.

We celebrate all the people who have come to Canada escaping persecution in other lands and all that people from diverse regions, ethnicities and faiths have contributed to bringing about just social change in our society. We hope that this anniversary will inspire more commitment to ending social inequality, to challenging Islamophobia, Anti-Black Racism, Racism against our First Nations and other People of Colour, Anti-Semitism, Transphobia and Homophobia. We hope that this anniversary marks sincere progress toward the fulfillment of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Wishing you all a weekend filled with community, love and warmth.

UARR Board of Directors

The UARR celebrates National Aboriginal Day

June 21, 2017

TORONTO, June 21, 2017 – The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is honoured to add its voice to Canadians across the nation as we celebrate National Aboriginal Day, and the unique and important influence and impact of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples on Canada.

“National Aboriginal Day is an opportunity for us all to re-commit our efforts and resources to ensure all 94 Calls to Action of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada are met/acted upon,” said Nigel Barriffe, President of UARR. “First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have endured 500 years of colonialism, the horrors of residential schools, and the Government of Canada’s continued failure to meet its obligations under the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant.”

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples were the first on this land, yet they have for far too long been treated as third class citizens. It is unconscionable that today, in 2017, Indigenous peoples still do not have the right to decideimportant issues that affect their communities. Canada must just honour First Nations treaty rights, and it must also move away from a relationship of paternalism and control and toward one of deference and support.

Canada has a duty to ensure equal opportunities and justice for all who share this land, particularly its First Peoples. It is no secret that this isn’t the case today.

Founded in 1975, Urban Alliance on Racial Relations has worked with the community and the public and private sectors to provide educational programs and research to address racism and discrimination in our society.

For more information, please contact:
Nigel Barriffe

(416) 703-6607 ext. 1

UARR teams up with Fasting 5k to support a new program, aimed at engaging Muslim youth with local government

June 19, 2017

This month, Urban Alliance teamed up with Fasting 5k to support a new program, aimed at engaging Muslim youth with local government.  Fasting 5K is a grassroots organization that aims to create a network of communities that walk/run for one cause through the spirit of fasting, running and charitable giving during the month of Ramadan. Since its inception, Fasting 5K has raised over $140,000.00 for youth causes across a dozen cities!

For the 2017 Toronto event, Fasting 5K was able to raise close to $7000.  Funds will support Dawanet’s Muslim Leadership Development Program to place Muslim youth in fellowship programs with municipal and provincial offices to train these youth to serve their communities and Canadian society to the best of their abilities. This fellowship will provide youth with the training they need to develop their professional skills as public servants while serving their communities and Canadian society to the best of their abilities.  These Fellows will then be places in paid internship opportunities working for municipal and provincial officials’ offices for a full training experience.

Nora Hindy

UARR Board member