Rest in power Dr. Bromley Armstrong

bromley-funeral-info

 

The board of directors of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations are saddened to note the August 17, 2018 passing of Dr. Bromley Lloyd Armstrong. One of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations founding members, Dr. Armstrong worked tirelessly to challenge and injustice. Born in Jamaica in 1926, Dr. Armstrong came to Canada in 1947 and almost immediately began his seven decades of work in support of equity for people experiencing discrimination. Dr. Armstrong is recognized as a pivotal figure in Ontario-based campaigns that led to Canada’s first anti-discrimination laws. A self-described “blood and guts” ally of the working poor, Dr. Armstrong demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the trade union movement and the battle against disadvantage and discrimination.
Dr. Armstrong was always a leader. His strong family ties to the labour movement and his own factory work for Massey Harris between 1948 and 1956 prompted him to become a labour leader with the United Auto Workers Local 439. In 1954, he led a delegation to Ottawa to challenge the federal government’s discrimination against people of colour in its immigration policy. The improvements that were won through his efforts are the ones we are fighting to keep today.

One of his most notable efforts was his involvement in the “Dresden story.” Dresden, Ontario, a small town famous as the terminus of the Underground Railroad for people who escaped enslavement in the United States, had a population that was nearly 20% Black by the middle of the twentieth century. Despite this, many local restaurants and barbershops refused to serve people considered non-white. Building on the work of the National Unity Association of Chatham, Dresden, and North Buxton was instrumental in the passage of legislation that prohibited discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public places. In 1954, Dr. Armstrong joined other activists and labour leaders to participate in “sit-ins” in local Dresden establishments to “test” their compliance with the law. These sit-ins and the resultant media attention helped propel the establishment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 1991.

Dr. Armstrong and his fellow activists also “tested” landlords, restaurants, and clubs to see whether they complied with legislation that prohibited discrimination. By doing so, he and others were able to help end discriminatory practices within many public establishments.

Dr. Armstrong founded numerous organizations dedicated to anti-racism and social justice including the Jamaican Canadian Association, the Black Business and Professional Association, the National Council of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations, and Urban Alliance on Race Relations.

He received numerous awards during his lifetime including the Harmony Award, the Order of Ontario, the Order of Distinction in Jamaica, and the Order of Canada. He was also presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by York University in 2013. The Toronto and York Region Labour Council established an annual award in his name in 2004 that is given to a recipient who demonstrates outstanding commitment and leadership to labour and human rights.

We at Urban Alliance are honoured to be part of Dr. Armstrong’s legacy, and send condolences to his family and all who knew him.

 

Details for the Celebration of life for Dr. Armstrong

Advertisements

Congratulations to UARR Board Member Suze Morrison on her Election to the Provincial Legislator

SuzeMorrisonNDP

The Board of Directors, Staff and Members and Friends of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations extend our deepest and warmest CONGRATULATIONS to Board Member Suze Morrison on her election to the Provincial Legislature. Suze is the first successful NDP candidate in the Toronto Centre riding which she will be representing.

Suze brings a long list of achievements to Queen’s Park. Her platform and policies were informed by her Indigenous heritage and her experience as a committed advocate for equity and social justice.

We are proud of Suze and wish her a long and successful career in politics.

UARR Board, Staff, Members, Friends

Email Doug Ford and the PC Caucus: DQ Tanya Granic Allen

As reported in the media, the Progressive Conservative potential candidate for Mississauga Centre, Tanya Granic Allen has made some inflammatory comments spreading homophobia and Islamophobia.

Please visit this site and send an email directly to Doug Ford and the PC Caucus asking to disqualify Tanya Granic Allen.

April 11 is known as The Day of Pink which is the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny across the world. On this day let’s send the right message to our communities and make sure our province does not have representatives who work against Canada’s values of diversity and inclusion.

UARR and community partners commends #TDSB Enhanced Equity Report

Jan 31th, 2018

There have been chronic systemic issues that have affected Indigenous, Black and marginalized populations of students in this province for decades. Over that time, many generations of our children have been lost in spite of communities coming forward and raising their voices asking for change.

We would like to commend the Toronto District School Board for the bold actions outlined in the Directors Response to the Enhancing Equity Taskforce Report – we believe this may start to move us in the right direction.

  • The recognition of systemic racism in the education system is important, and allows those who have been left behind to feel included in the solution.
  • The elimination of streaming is a long overdue action, and we congratulate the Board in identifying and taking leadership to stop this practice.
  • Providing human rights and anti-oppression training to all staff is incredibly important to allow teachers to gain the valuable training and understandings that will help them serve students better.
  • We also welcome increased parent and student voice and in reviewing the allocation of resources, to ensure equitable access to help those in most need.
  • We appreciate the recognition, that opportunity must be provided on an equal basis, and that those who lack access to wealth must be treated with the same dignity provided to those in wealthier areas.
  • Programs that assist students increase their success no matter where they are delivered must be continued, but additional supports to those lacking in resources should also be provided greater commitment.
  • Including Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Human Rights and Indigenous Educational lenses is crucial to create an educational environment and gives respect to everyone from different histories.
  • The review of policies, and system re-allocation of resources, as well as a focus on hiring practices is all critical.
  • We also appreciate the strategy for Black Student Achievement and Excellence given the historic and current disparities that exist. We believe that finding solutions that continue to affect Black students will allow us to support all children more successfully. We hope that a similar focus on Indigenous students will also occur given the intergenerational realities that exist and we understand though, that Indigenous issues will not happen in an Equity report.

We were disappointed that the recommendation to establish a Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement within the TDSB, focused upon research and generating solutions and support for Black students and their families, was not included in the Task Force Report. Given the Report’s limited attention to Anti-Black Racism, which is clearly a significant problem in the school system, we hope that you will consider incorporating the creation of this Centre into your recommendations.

Additionally, we hope that the Ministry of Education and the Anti-Racism directorate support the TDSB to get the supports needed and ensure this plan’s implementation and success.

These measures are all needed, however, we must not just write policies, but act upon them with dedication and true commitment and we look forward to working with the Board in making them a reality.

Sincerely,
Nigel Barriffe, President – Urban Alliance on Race Relations

Nour Alideeb, Chairperson/ Président Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario/ Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants – Ontario

Bernie Farber

Yolanda McLean, President Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Warren Salmon, President Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators

The Director’s response to the Enhanced Equity Report Recommendations