DUNDAS COUNTY – In the aftermath of controversial comments made by North Dundas municipal councillor Tyler Hoy in August, a new group has formed to help address issues of racism and bias in Dundas County.
A community meeting was held at the Joel Steele Municipal Hall in Winchester on September 2nd. That meeting provided a safe space for people to share their stories of racism and discrimination living in North Dundas and South Dundas. The first meeting had about 40 participants, who talked about issues in both parts of the county.
“I feel the meeting went very well,” said Chris Clapp, one of the meeting organizers. “It was important to bring people into a safe space and talk about what has happened to them. It achieved what I wanted.”
Resulting from that meeting, a group has been formed to continue the conversation in Dundas County, and look at next steps. Diversity Dundas will host its next round table event at St. James Anglican Church in Morrisburg on October 19th.
Clapp said the October meeting is to continue the conversation that began in Winchester.
“Are the issues in South Dundas the same? The meeting will be a place to get together and share people’s experiences,” she explained. “And from there, look at what the next steps are.”
She said that the goals of the grassroots group right now is for people who are in a racial or gender minority group to be heard, and then to look at action.
“What will that look like,” Clapp asked. “It could be working with municipal councils to make sure that there is inclusion in the rural communities.”
She said that meeting is open to people who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Colour, and/or LGBTQ+ or any other diversity. Allies of those groups, or anyone in the community interested in learning are welcome as well.
“We want to help build our community to be inclusive,” she said.
The meeting will be held on October 19th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There are COVID-19 restrictions in place on the size of indoor gatherings, mask wearing and COVID-19 screening is required.