Anti-racism committee seeks a Jewish member as hate incidents rise in Mississauga


Published March 18, 2024 at 1:58 pm

Mississauga campaign against racism, discrimination and hate 2024

As hate-motivated incidents and crimes rise in the GTA, a Mississauga anti-racism committee seeks to add a member from the Jewish community.

Councillor Dipika Damerla is bringing a motion to add the member to the Combating Racism, Discrimination and Hatred Committee. The motion is to be discussed at the City of Mississauga Council meeting on March 20.

The Combating Racism, Discrimination and Hatred Committee was formed in February 2023, replacing the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

The group’s mandate is to “provide insights to council and staff on the needs of diverse, equity-deserving communities in Mississauga impacted by racism and hate. The committee also aims to “guide staff in supporting communities in fighting racism and hate through policies, programs and services.”

The motion before city council on Wednesday proposes the committee add one member to include a person of Jewish faith for this term.

Official numbers are not in yet for Mississauga but reports of hatred against Muslim and Jewish communities has been on the rise across the Greater Toronto Area, exacerbated by the conflict between Israel and Hamas beginning on Oct. 7, 2023, the motion states.

Of the 84 hate crimes so far in 2024, 56 per cent were antisemitic in the City of Toronto, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw said in a press release today (March 18).

“Last month saw the highest number of antisemitic occurrences in the last three years,” Demkiw said.

There have been five anti-Muslim/Arab/Palestinian hate crimes this year in Toronto. This is an increase of one from this time last year.

Peel Regional Police numbers indicate a steady rise in hate-motivated incidents. In 2016, there were 102 hate-motivated incidents reported compared to 210 in 2021, according to Peel Regional Police numbers available online.

hate anti racism mississauga jewish

Peel Regional Police numbers show a rise in hate motivated incidents. (Peel Regional Police chart)

Combating hatred, discrimination and racism are among the primary goals of the Combating Racism, Discrimination and Hatred Committee, the motion to council notes.

“Some members of the Jewish community are requesting representation on the Committee in the wake of the significant rise in hate-motivated incidents to ensure their voice and perspectives are heard by the Committee as the City undertakes the important work of combating racism, hate and discrimination,” the motion notes.

The Jewish community is looking for constructive ways to help address the increased hate against their community.

The terms of reference of the committee require 10 citizen members and two city council members. Council already passed a motion to increase the number of councillors on the committee from two to three.

The proposal is to add one more citizen member to include a person of Jewish faith, so long as the applicant meets all of the other requirements and qualifications to be a member of the committee, for this term.

If the resolution is successful, the clerk’s office will start the recruitment process to fill the vacancy for a new committee member.

For more information on this motion, see the council meeting agenda here.

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