Talking Point: Institutional racism needs redress

“Anti-Black racism is in every corner of Canada. It’s been ingrained in society for many, many years.”

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In the coming weeks, candidates will be on your doorstep. It will be your chance to ask them what they plan to do about issues that matter to you.

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We asked Ottawa residents what they would like local candidates to address. Today, we spoke to Osmel Guerra Maynes, executive director of Capital Pride.


Racism, and particularly anti-Black racism, in institutions is an issue that Capital Pride executive director Osmel Guerra Maynes says needs to be addressed.

“There needs to be a solution for institutional racism,” he says, “because we’re seeing it a lot in our various communities.”

Maynes, who now lives in Ottawa, but has also spent time in Toronto and Vancouver, says he sees institutional racism every day. “Anti-Black racism is in every corner of Canada. It’s been ingrained in society for many, many years. We experience it when we go into a store or when we go to work — different types of micro-aggressions put towards us. And we see it in how police interact with people of colour, especially Black folks.”

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Maynes points to the May 2020 police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement as a significant time when people came together to rally in support of Black people, but says it needs to go further.

“I want to see it actualized and spoken on. Conversations need to happen within government officials and institutions, and also community members, in terms of how we can better navigate this issue. Because we know this anti-Blackness continues to happen to folks who are simply minding their own business or just want to carry on with their lives.”

ALSO: Read the other parts of our Talking Point series for Election 2021