An Ontario Town Is Officially Rededicating Its Name Due To Racist Ties
It looks like one Ontario town is getting a facelift. In a press release on Tuesday, Russell Township announced that while it will be keeping its name, it will be dedicating the honour to someone else. The move comes after the town acknowledged racist ties to the origin of its title.
Last month, Russell Township faced some backlash over its connection to Peter Russell, who was known as a slave owner.
The historical figure has also been recognized as someone who helped delay the legislation that would abolish slavery.
A petition, which gained thousands of signatures, was started and addressed to the municipality in an attempt to get the name changed.
Now, the Township has announced that they will be looking for a new figure with the name Russell who will better adhere to the values that the town wishes to reflect.
"The ideals of Peter Russell do not reflect the current values of Russell Township residents," read a statement from the town's website.
"Russell Township strives to be a kind-hearted inclusive community, whose people, policies and sense of community make this an amazing place to live."
"In keeping the name 'Russell Township' and rededicating the honour to a new 'Russell', the Township formally recognizes the offensive nature of its current honorary namesake, Peter Russell, and rectifies the situation by rededicating the name of 'Russell' in someone else’s honour, with no financial repercussions to residents," it continued.
Now, town officials are asking residents to submit their own candidates that would make a new fit for the community.
However, it is still unknown exactly when this rededication will take place.
Along with this new change, the Township has announced that they are also creating a Russell Township Community Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee which will help to "better understand and represent residents."
However, this isn't the only area in Ontario that has received backlash towards its racist ties over the past few months.
A petition has also been created to rename Dundas Street in Toronto due to its link to slavery.
The road was originally named after Henry Dundas, who opposed the abolition of slavery in the late 18th century.