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Regional representatives respond about racial discrimination concerns

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

DURHAM: Durham Region officials have put out statements with respect to the current global situation following the killing of George Floyd in the United States, and the protests started because of that. In a statement sent out, on Wednesday, June 3rd, Regional Chair John Henry called for unity. “Recently, our global community has been shaken to the core, following senseless acts of racism. Many of you are likely feeling a wide range of emotions; trying to understand how these unnecessary acts of violence could occur. The fight against racism and discrimination is one we all support here in Durham. Remember, we are all human beings; loved by those around us. We need to accept others for who they are, rather than defining people by their beliefs, culture, identity, language, or the colour of their skin. Be proud that Durham Region is a welcoming place. A place where residents speak almost every language and represent many cultures,” Chair Henry said. However, the Regional Chair acknowledged “racism still exists” in the Region. “Let’s use our differences to create opportunities, to ensure civility and respect remain community cornerstones, to showcase why inclusion has been a long-standing core value in our Strategic Plan. Together, we can push diversity and inclusion forward. Let’s stand together for equality; working together to eliminate racism, discrimination and marginalization,” he said. Durham Regional Police (DRPS) Chief Paul Martin responded to the concerns communities have had about police since this Minneapolis incident “Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) stands with our Black colleagues and the larger community to speak out against racism and promote understanding. We are committed to supporting change and pursuing equality. The members of DRPS chose policing as a means to contribute positively to community, to help make our communities safer. We do not support, nor condone, nor practice, in any fashion, kneeling on a human being’s neck, long past the point of consciousness,” he wrote, in his statement. Chief Martin also wanted the public to know the police service is always working to improve. “Many of you have reached out to us to express your frustration, to inquire about what we will do next and to investigate what strategies we are employing to ensure that this doesn’t happen here. We acknowledge that there have been times that we have failed you in the past. Please know that we are committed to continuously improving our training, education, conduct and accountability practices, and to listening to the collective voices of the communities of Durham Region.”

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