In their first collective display of action, the Ajax Anti-Black Racism (AABR) Task Force has issued a formal letter of support (attached) for the Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program proposed by the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS).

The letter, addressed to Regional Chair John Henry and Police Board Chair Kevin Ashe, calls the implementation of a BWC program a ‘pivotal step’ toward repairing the relationship between the region’s Black community and DRPS. The Task Force believes that it is a fitting show of solidarity towards the black community that their first order of business involved the police, because of the recent heightened emotions around the death of George Floyd and the concerns it has risen around accountability, trust and transparency with the police service.

To start the week, Mariska Thomas, Chair of the Ajax Anti-Black Racism (AABR) Task Force, led an update to Ajax Council about the group’s recently completed Terms of Reference and Strategic Work Plan.

Highlights of the information presented include:

  • Formal Terms of Reference for the Task Force including a formal mandate, guiding principles, reporting expectations and relationship, membership and renumeration, and decision-making processes;
  • 10 short term (first year) and 4 long-term (second year) goals to guide the Task Force’s next steps.

The Town’s new Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator will also participate in Task Force meetings and serve as a liaison for TOA.

Quotes

“On behalf of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, we are excited to write a letter of endorsement to Regional Council in support of the implementation of the Body Worn Camera Program for the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) in 2021. The committee is created of members that are all working towards the same goal of combating anti-Black racism and institutional racism. Supporting this program is a great start at repairing the relationship between the Black community, other racialized groups and the DRPS because it promotes transparency and accountability.”

- Mariska Thomas, Chair, AABR Task Force

“The time for action is now. I am grateful to Mariska and the AABR team for their dedication and leadership, allowing their lived and community experiences to guide the group’s meaningful and concrete goals for this term. I look forward to supporting this group’s work alongside members of Ajax Council, and to implement their recommendations to move TOA forward.”

- Mayor Shaun Collier

Quick Facts

  • The AABR Task Force was created at the request and through funding support of Ajax Council, to make recommendations and implement anti-racist policies and actions to combat barriers experienced by Black people and other racialized groups.
  • Social injustices surrounding the Black community and other racialized communities at the hands of police services across North America have demonstrated the increased need for BWCs.
  • The AABR Task Force encourages the DRPS at the direction of Durham Region Council to demonstrate leadership by implementing BWCs as a tangible and symbolic step toward transparency, accountability and building trust.
  • To learn more about the AABR Task Force and their mandate, and to stay up-to-date on their latest reports, visit ajax.ca/taskforce.

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