Bridgewater formalizes anti-racism commitee

by Keith Corcoran

Bridgewater formalized a new panel established to eliminate prejudice and racism in the town.

The new Bridgewater Anti-racism Task Force is a committee of the town and designed to work with civic politicians on community issues, policy, and other matters through a diversified lens.

The committee will advise council on "local race issues that impact those who live, work or play" in Bridgewater, and it "aims to promote a racism and discrimination-free town," reads the newly-approved terms-of-reference.

The task force is also mandated to monitor and report to council any racist and discriminatory practices in the community, and develop an action plan - for council to approve - for addressing racism and discrimination. It's also there to promote diversity and equal opportunity within the town.

The concept of a task force was born out of a take-a-knee rally against racism, which was held in Bridgewater's downtown in June and organized by Mayor David Mitchell and his family. The event packed the street and area around a town-owned park, as people knelt in a show of global unity against inequality, racism and police brutality. Mitchell said the rally was a show of solidarity and a step toward responsibility and repair.

Making the task force official, and finalizing the committee's scope, made for a "historic day" for the province and community, Mitchell said during the council meeting where the matter was discussed.

"It wasn't going to be words, it had to be action; and for there to be action, there has to be a committee," Mitchell said during the council meeting, live-streamed online. "And for that committee to make sense, it cannot be a committee just sitting around this table."

The task force will consist of nine members, who will be appointed by resolution of council for a term of no more than three years. Its meetings will be monthly and open to the public. Membership will serve in a volunteer capacity only, with no remuneration.

To learn more about the task force and its mandate, go to www.bridgewater.ca on the internet.

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