“Like millions of people across Canada, the United States and around the world, over these past several days we have witnessed the devastating impact of anti-Black racism. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and the harm done to Christian Cooper are tragedies that we, the heads of Councils in Waterloo region, will never feel as deeply as those in the African, Caribbean and Black communities in our municipalities, and beyond.

We recognize this by acknowledging that our own privilege has meant that we have not had to face the longstanding, outright discrimination and systemic racism members of the Black community experience in our country every day.

And so, while we cannot walk in the shoes of those most affected by these recent and tragic deaths, and the long history of violence that came before, we can walk alongside them as allies. We will do this virtually tomorrow, as many people in our community will join the peacefully organized KW Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matters - Waterloo Region, the African, Caribbean and Black Network of Waterloo Region, and other community leaders who are organizing these events. We support and acknowledge their right to peacefully protest to raise awareness of the lives lost to violence rooted in systemic racism, and to encourage our community to support efforts to confront anti-Black racism close to home.

It is important to note that this peaceful protest is occurring during a global pandemic, as COVID-19 remains an ongoing threat in our region, and Provincial Emergency Orders remain in effect to limit public gatherings and encourage physical distancing to reduce the risk of transmission and community spread. We encourage those who can, to participate virtually in the March tomorrow, which is the safest way possible to demonstrate support for this cause. We recognize that for some, the pain and trauma of recent events can only be healed through community grieving; and for that, we appreciate and thank event organizers for their diligence in advising those planning to attend in-person on the need to utilize masks, maintain physical distancing, and stay away if experiencing any COVID-19 like symptoms. 

Tomorrow’s March is just one step in a continuing journey. A journey of listening to, engaging with, and doing the work necessary to better understand the lived experiences of those in our community who face racism and other systemic barriers every day. We commit to taking a deeper look at our own behaviours, practices, and institutions to combat anti-Black racism. And, we commit to doing better; as a region, as area municipalities, and as individuals in our pursuit for a more inclusive, equitable community. Together, we are confident we can advance positive change in Waterloo region.” 

  • Karen Redman, Regional Chair
  • Berry Vrbanovic, City of Kitchener Mayor
  • Dave Jaworsky, City of Waterloo Mayor
  • Kathryn McGarry, City of Cambridge Mayor
  • Sue Foxton, Township of North Dumfries Mayor
  • Joe Nowak, Township of Wellesley Mayor
  • Les Armstrong, Township of Wilmot Mayor
  • Sandy Shantz, Township of Woolwich Mayor

Media contacts:

Jennifer Hassum
Corporate Communications
City of Kitchener