New Black Heritage Cruiser ‘who we are as a community’

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Published August 26, 2021 at 4:36 pm

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Black Internal Support Network and several community partners unveiled the HRPS Black Heritage Police Cruiser, Thursday, in Oakville. HRPS PHOTO

A new police cruiser set to hit the streets in Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills is looking to ‘lay a foundation for healing and a path forward.’

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Black Internal Support Network and several community partners unveiled the HRPS Black Heritage Police Cruiser, Thursday, in Oakville.

The new vehicle is the result of a design contest held this February in honour of Black History Month.

The winning cruiser was conceived by the Queen of Heaven Catholic Elementary School’s Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (iDARE) Committee.

Members of iDARE include Bonnie Wiltshire, Valerie Nelson, Sokomba Effiong, Gabriella Ball, Margaret Keats, Andrea Domenico, Jane Thomas, and Amos Olujide.

“This design concept seeks to lay a foundation for healing and a path forward for the Black Halton community and the HRPS working together with a common understanding and a common purpose,” says Wiltshire, Chair of the iDARE Committee.

The intertwined ribbon design on the cruiser, says Wiltshire, weaves the narrative of enslavement of Black Peoples in North America to the resilience as they fled to safety, whose stories became footprints of success on the landscapes of both Halton and Canada.

“The words inscribed along the ribbon are just merely some of the ways the Black community in Halton and Canada have contributed to the very fabric of these communities and paved the way for others,” adds Wiltshire. “Further, the ribbon is symbolic of the strong threads that bind the Black community and their allies together as we create new paths to success and strengthen our community as a whole.

“The ribbon is composed of the colours that represent both Black History Month 2021 and the HRPS to further emphasize those symbolic connections.”

The HRPS says its proud to stand behind all that this cruiser design symbolizes and communicates to the community

“This project is just one of the many ways the HRPS is working to build relationships with all members of the communities we serve by keeping the door open to meaningful and constructive dialogue,” says Cst. David Joseph of the HRPS Black Internal Support Network.

The cruiser also features a quote from Dr. Jean Augustine that resonated with the design team for its overarching message about the celebration of Black history.

The quote reads, “Black History is not just for Black People. Black History is Canadian History.”

“I am so proud to participate in the unveiling of the HRPS Black Heritage Cruiser where the message is around who we are as a community,” says Dr. Augustine, the first African-Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament, who paved the way for Black History Month in Canada.

“From police services, to community groups and educators, this work around diversity and inclusion is an important message for people to see. Black history is Canadian history and we all need to recognize that.”

Created by members of the HRPS Black Internal Support Network, the Black Heritage Police Cruiser is funded by African and Caribbean organizations, who provided a one-time $2,500 academic scholarship to the winning design team.

With their winning funds from the contest, the iDARE Committee presented St. Francis Xavier Catholic Secondary School graduates, Vanessa Broomfield-Bryce and Alisa Robinson, a Queen of Heaven High School Graduate Scholarship in the amount of $1250 each.

The two students will use this to help support their post-secondary studies.

Community partners who also offered their support include:

  • African Caribbean Council of Halton
  • Black Mentorship Inc.
  • Burlington Caribbean Connection
  • Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton
  • Caribbean and African Coalition of Canada
  • Halton Black History Awareness Society
  • Halton Regional Police Association
  • I am. I can. I will.
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