One month after a presentation by Equity and Inclusion North Bay members Gemma Victor and Vijanti Ramlogan, North Bay City Council has moved swiftly to respond to one of three requests made by the group.
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North Bay City Councillor Mac Bain will join the community-led EINB committee, which has a stated mission to "remove systemic barriers to inclusion in all sectors of our society and to take meaningful action towards discrimination, by learning together to build a respectful, inclusive and safe North Bay community."
Bain's appointment, made public following an in-camera session of Tuesday's regular meeting of council, fulfills EINB's request for Council to appoint a member to sit and work with the committee.
Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch said Council wants to "show the importance of inclusion, the importance of this committee and how we want to support change in the community."
The group will work toward the other two requests: for the City of North Bay to become a member of the Canadian Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, and for the City to proclaim 2021 the "Year of Equity and Inclusion in North Bay."
"I am looking forward to working with the other committee members," Bain tells BayToday. "I believe North Bay has a long and rich history of being a welcoming community. Every community — even North Bay — can and must do more and do better. The work this committee does will not only benefit our residents but also shape how we are viewed by others."
Heidi Buck points to the participation of over 2,000 people in a Black Lives Matter march in North Bay in June as "evidence that members of this community are concerned about these issues and expect to see community leadership."
Buck, the group's chairperson, adds, "Racist speech and actions exist everywhere, and North Bay might not be any worse than any other community, but neither is it any better."
EINB's vision is by 2030, "North Bay will be a community where everyone actively shares responsibility for removing barriers to equity and inclusion for all; where every individual has the opportunity to equally contribute to, and benefit from, the economic, political, social, and cultural life of our community."
Bain adds, he also has a personal family-oriented motive for joining the committee.
"I have three Black grandchildren and two-and-a-half White grandchildren. I look forward to working alongside others on the committee and community, to make North Bay a place all my grandchildren can flourish," he says.