Petition calls for major Mississauga street to be renamed to help combat racism
In the wake of intense conversations surrounding anti-Black racism and discrimination against all people of colour, more people are calling for street names honouring controversial figures to be renamed—including a major street in Mississauga.
A change.org petition launched by Suzan Albaz is calling on the city to rename Winston Churchill Blvd., citing the now-deceased British prime minister's reference to people of European descent as a "stronger race, a higher-grade race."
Winston Churchill Blvd. spans about 60 km and runs north and south through both Brampton and Mississauga.
The call to rename the street follows calls to rename Dundas St., which is named after a Scottish politician named Henry Dundas who obstructed the abolition of slavery.
Recently, a statue of slave-trader Edward Colston was pulled down during a protest in Bristol in the U.K.
Albaz points out that the city's website says that street names cannot discriminate against people in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, damage the image of the city and its employees or cause deep or widespread offence.
"This is a contradiction to the street and bus station named after Winston Churchill in Mississauga," the petition reads.
The petition cites one of Churchill's 1937 statements, during which he told the Palestine Royal Commission that he would not admit that "a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia."
"I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly-wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place,” he said.
The petition also mentions that Churchill advocated for the use of "poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes" and once said that he hated people of Indian descent, calling them "a beastly people with a beastly religion."
"If one man said all those horrible things, how does that fit into Mississauga's street name guidelines? Simply put, it doesn't! We need to change this, we need to be the generation that speaks up," the petition reads.
Over 250 people have already signed the petition.
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