Viola Desmond: Canadian park to be named after civil rights pioneer

With the support of colleague Glenn De Baeremaeker, Scarborough’s Councillor Neethan Shan plans to introduce a motion during this week’s Toronto Council meeting calling on city staff to research the feasibility of renaming Hupfield Park, in Malvernlocated near the intersection of Neilson Road and Finch Avenue, after Desmond.

« The names of our parks, our streets, our schools do not reflect the diversity of our city, » said  Neethan Shan, noting such decisions are made by people in power, where racialized people are not highly represented. « A lot of racialized communities are still fighting for equality in employment, education and health care, but it’s important also to advocate for this type of recognition and change the status quo. »

Canadian encyclopedia

Desmond was a successful Black businesswoman from Nova Scotia whose fight against discrimination inspired the civil-rights movement in Canada. In 1946 she refused to leave the main floor of a theatre that was reserved for white people only, and police dragged her out and put her in jail. While Desmond is frequently compared to U.S. civil rights icon Rosa Parks, there are significant differences in their experiences.

Desmond’s arrest took place nine years before Parks refused to give her bus seat up to a white passenger. While Parks was challenging entrenched laws enforcing racial segregation, no such legislation existed in Nova Scotia, even if the charges Desmond faced were very clearly racially motivated.

Desmond’s likeness will appear on the front of the new $10 bill, scheduled to enter circulation in 2018.

 

Source : Metro news


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