With all things COVID back on the front burner, it’s easy to temporarily forget everything that happened in the last few years around fighting systemic racism and embracing social justice. The City of Guelph is trying to make progress towards a more equitable and representative system seriously, but let’s ask the person who knows best: Is the City of Guelph making real progress on tackling issues of systemic racism?
This week, we talk to Sara Sayyed, the senior advisor of Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Initiatives at the City of Guelph. Her job is to look at ways to dismantle systemic racism and promote racial equity in all manners of City business from policy, to planning, to the delivery services. No one wants to think that they’re a participant in a racist system, but understanding how our systems might influence society’s lack of equity is an important step forward.
For a job this big, you need someone plugged into the community, someone like Sara Sayyed. She’s been the community services director of the Guelph Muslim Society, and she’s served on a number of local boards including the Guelph General Hospital Board, and the Guelph Community Foundation. She’s had her finger in a lot of proverbial pies, which is why she was able to hit the ground running since being hired by the City of Guelph last summer.
Now, Sayyed joins us on the podcast to talk about what systemic racism looks like in Guelph, and whether the City of Guelph is keeping up with the pace of demand for change. Then, she discusses the 2022 Municipal Election and getting more People of Colour into local politics and running for local office. Sayyed also talks about issues of trust, the importance of having uncomfortable conversations, and how she’s made the transition from being a community activist to being part of the proverbial machine.
So let’s talk about the mission to end systemic racism on this edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can see the latest corporate update on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the November 26 council information report, and the next update will be coming up this June. The City is also in the process of updating the Community Plan to include a community standard for the elimination of systemic racism, and you can follow along with updates here.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.