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Report on systemic racism in Edmonton aims to quantify inequities, inspire change


A new report on systemic racism was unveiled at Edmonton City Hall Thursday, one that organizers hope will raise awareness amongst not only citizens but politicians as well.

A Look At Systemic Racism In Edmonton is 32 pages. It does everything from quantifying ethnic diversity in the city to listing the most popular breeds of pets in the Alberta capital.

The report is part of an annual research project by the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF).

Race-based information on employment, suicide and representation in the arts is also part of the report.

"We found that, throughout all of these topics, racialized folks face inequities in almost every domain," said Sydney Sheloff with Edmonton Social Planning Council, one of the groups that organized the report.

"For example, the residential school system continues to have impacts on Indigenous children's success in school which has further impacts into almost all areas of our lives from employment opportunities, to experience with health, as well as justice."

Sheloff said there were also "bright spots" for racialized people, including increased rates of involvement in politics, community engagement and grassroots organizing.

A sample of what the report found:

  • The unemployment rate for Indigenous peoples living off-reserve in the working population was 11.2 per cent, compared to 5.7 per cent in Canada overall.
  • 35 per cent of respondents indicated they had no knowledge about the Sixties Scoop, and 18 per cent had no knowledge about Canada’s history of slavery.
  • 74 per cent of respondents who are members of a minority group reported that racism is a problem in Edmonton, compared to 58 per cent reported by people who are not members of a minority group.

The data comes from a variety of sources, some of which are not Edmonton-based. A lack of local stats based on race is still an issue, according to a spokesperson from ECF.

"I know some work is being done to start collecting disaggregated data and I'm hoping that this report would set the tone to educate community as well and get the importance out there to start collecting it," said Nneka Otogbolu.

The report also includes information about residential schools, the history of immigration in Canada and stats on where taxpayer dollars go.

Sheloff said she hopes Edmontonians read the document and get involved in making the city better by volunteering with grassroots organizations and lobbying politicians to support equity policies.

"We really hope that once Edmontonians learn about this issue, they're really going to be inspired to take action," Sheloff said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Joe Scarpelli Top Stories


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