CRARR COMMUNITY SUMMIT: EQUAL ACCESS TO COMMUNITY: SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION
Published on March 15, 2023
On Saturday, March 11th, MCW President Linda Serpone and VP Penny Rankin, along with more than 20 minority group organizations from Montreal’s English-speaking community participated in a Summit focused on crime prevention, that was organized by the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
A key objective was to address obstacles in attracting more resources/funding to meet the English-speaking minority community’s crime-prevention needs, and, at the same time, "to acknowledge and pay tribute to victims of crime."
Moderated and led by Fo Niemi, Executive Director of CRARR, the program, that had begun at Union United Church the evening before, included Commandant Jean-Marc Schachzenbach (Section des Stratégies en prévention et sécurité urbaine - Responsable du dossier jeunesse et la lutte contre la violence armée SPVM), Nadia Bastien, (Directrice, Service de la diversité et de l’inclusion sociale chez Ville de Montréal) and Brian Smith (VP Canadian Foundation for Economic Education). Mayor Alan De Sousa of Saint-Laurent also spoke.
Saturday’s session began with a historical account of past efforts on the part of racialized communities to be both heard and supported. Focusing on economic opportunities, English-speaking, socially and economically disadvantaged, racialized, immigrant (or having other characteristics leading to systemic exclusion) groups were then invited to discuss and identify the concrete barriers they face.
- Montreal’s Chinese community says it is seeing a lot more crime in Chinatown. “There’s a lot of crime and criminal activity taking place in Chinatown in the last three years,” said Bryant Chang, the vice president of the Montreal Chinese Association.
- Many English-speaking minority groups also expressed fear of Bill 96 and say the province’s reformed language law will have devastating impacts on their daily lives. St. Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa spoke at the seminar. He said language shouldn’t act as a barrier but as a facilitator. “We should find everything we can to make sure that barrier is removed,” said DeSousa.
“How do we develop programs and services to tackle crime, to prevent crime, and how do we get access to resources...How do we work together with the city and the police and the schools, eventually, to address the needs of the youth,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.
“In the end, it’s about combatting poverty,” said Niemi. “It’s about giving young people a chance to believe that they can get a good job if they don’t stray away.”