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City officially recognizes United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent and issues call to action

Mayor John Tory was joined by City officials, former Canadian and City of Toronto Poet Laureate and playwright George Elliott Clarke, MC Bonde, host of the African Groove on G98.7 FM, and Black community leaders, advocates and activists, community organizers, foundations and policy leaders at an event last night to officially recognize United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent. 

The Decade was established as a way for the international community to recognize people of African descent as a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. The goals of the Decade are recognition, justice and development.

Studies continue to show that anti-Black racism still exists in this city, affecting the lives of more than 200,000 people of African descent who call Toronto home. The City’s establishment of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit (at the time of creation, the first of its kind in any city across North America), and the development and implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism are in line with the goals of the Decade.

With the recognition of the Decade, the City is encouraging public and private sector organizations to make their own commitments during the next year to:
• embody the International Decade of People of African Descent in curriculums, in policy making, in programmatic areas of focus;
• incorporate the Decades’ goals of justice, recognition and development into long- term strategic planning and reflect on how it can transform everyday practices;
• find new ways to stand with people of African descent in Toronto by working to transform the barriers that place true justice, recognition and development out of reach. 

The United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent have expressed their support for the City of Toronto joining the international community in recognizing the Decade, and congratulated the City on its early efforts to confront anti-Black racism through the creation of a dedicated office and implementation of the action plan.

March 25 is also significant to people of African descent, as it marks the United Nations International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

For more information on the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit or the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, visit:

“People of African descent have a 400-year history in Canada, and have made significant and invaluable contributions to Toronto. Recognizing the International Decade for the People of African Descent is the next step to the City recognizing and showing our support for Black Torontonians.” 
– Toronto Mayor John Tory 

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

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