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McMaster group’s anti-racism initiative to unveil demands and take action

Social Psychology student Sarah Jama is hoping an anti-racism action plan she helped organize will lead to tangible steps to defeat racism in Hamilton.

Mar 27, 2017

Original article by Carmela Fragomeni, the Hamilton Spectator

McMaster University student Sarah Jama is hoping an anti-racism action plan she helped organize will lead to tangible steps to defeat racism in Hamilton.

Jama, a social psychology student and co-president of the McMaster Womanists, said she is excited to get grassroots groups devising game plans on the Anti-Racism Action Initiative report being presented Friday.

"This is the right step to a Hamilton that is inclusive for everyone," Jama said.

The report, a compilation of demands formulated at a fall meeting in collaboration with grassroots groups, will be used to assigning individual tasks to groups to see the demands through.

"This meeting is to go over the demands and figure out how to turn them into policy acts and find groups to take them on and work to getting those demands accomplished," Jama said.

The report — its cover illustration is of three raised fists reminiscent of the American black power salute of the 1960s civil rights movement — makes 36 demands of Hamilton's politicians, police, school boards and post-secondary institutions.

Many cross into provincial and federal jurisdiction, but the report is focused on challenging city government and institutions.

View the report summary at researchgate.net.

The full report on Friday will elaborate on the demands and provide testimonials of people's experiences with racism given in the November meeting, Jama said.

The categories include police brutality, racism against aboriginals, hate crimes and gentrification of the city's marginalized neighbourhoods.

The initiative and report were put together by Jama and social worker Sara Adjekum "using a community-based participatory research approach," said Adjekum. It was meant to engage the community in conversations about race.

"It'll really break it down for people who don't have the experience of racism or are still grappling on whether this is an issue. Racism is still definitely an issue. Absolutely," Adjekum said.

Original article by Carmela Fragomeni, the Hamilton Spectator