Over the last few weeks, the world has watched peaceful protests across North America attempting to bring about change and help end police violence against Black people. We join the protesters in denouncing violence, racism and systemic discrimination.
We have all seen the heartbreaking video of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, being killed in police custody on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes as he lay face-down and handcuffed. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated event and the problem is not unique to the United States. We have read with shock in recent months about incidents of police brutality in Canada against Black people, First Nations people and others.
The City of Côte Saint-Luc has a tradition of speaking out against injustice, such as our 2019 rally against Bill 21 to protest the banning religious symbols worn by state employees, and our 2013 stand against the Quebec Charter of Values. Our Human Rights Walkway at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park honours people who have made a difference, such as Raoul Wallenberg, Mary Two-Axe Earley, Helen Suzman, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Viola Davis Desmond and others.
Our multi-ethnic, multi-faith, and multi-lingual community is particularly sensitive to discrimination, racism, and bigotry. For instance, as home over the years to thousands of survivors of the Holocaust, and to refugees from across the world, Côte Saint-Lucers have a connection to senseless violence committed against innocent people.
Fixing systemic racism will be a huge challenge over the coming years and will involve changes to structures across our society. We hope Côte Saint-Luc can be a productive partner in bringing about such changes.
In April 1968, two months before he was assassinated, United States Senator Robert Kennedy spoke eloquently about the shared humanity that we should have for all people given our finite time on Earth. During this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic and violence against Black people, First Nations people and others, we would do well to remember the words of Senator Kennedy who said:
“But we can perhaps remember—even if only for a time—that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek—as we do—nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.”– Robert Kennedy, April 5, 1968