Photo and story by: Surjit Singh Flora
City councillors, senior advisors and community representatives came together Wednesday afternoon to unveil the new sign to commemorate the renaming of a Brampton sports park.
On July 8, Brampton City Council unanimously passed a motion to rename Dixie 407 Sports Park to Emancipation Park in honour of the abolition of slavery.
The park, located south of Highway 407 in Ward 7, was constructed in 2004 and includes minor and significant soccer pitches and cricket grounds.
The motion was conceived by City Councillor Charmaine Williams and endorsed by all members of the Council. This year, Aug. 1 is proclaimed as Emancipation Day, and August is proclaimed as Emancipation Month in Brampton.
“I was proud to move the motion to create a recognition of Emancipation in Oct. 2019. The recent events that have elevated our understanding of anti-Black racism could not have been foreseen when I brought this initiative forward,” said Williams. “I look forward to seeing more initiatives that increase our historical understanding of the roots of anti-Black racism as we work to tear down the barriers that hold back human potential.”
Aug. 1 was Emancipation Day, which was acknowledged through Emancipation Month in Brampton, featuring online events dedicated to highlighting the history of slavery and emancipation in Canada.
Brampton Mayor Brown said, “ It is my honour to be here today, this Emancipation month, to recognize the abolition of slavery in Canada and honour our history with this new park renaming.
Around the world, we are witnessing a historic moment in time. People of all backgrounds are coming together to confront systemic anti-Black racism collectively. Here in Brampton, this park renaming is a powerful statement that we are committed to celebrating Brampton’s diversity and stand with Brampton’s Black community.
There have been several events that have taken place this year across the world that have opened our eyes to the hardships that the Black community faces every day. As a City, we are committed to continuous education, conversation, and collaboration to eliminate anti-black racism and provide all residents with the tools they need to succeed.
On June 10, 2020, City Council approved the Black African and Caribbean Social, Cultural and Economic Empowerment and Anti-Black Racism Unit. This unit is tasked with developing an action plan to eradicate systemic anti-Black racism in Brampton.
Led by Senior Advisor, Gwyneth Chapman, and guided by local community stakeholders, work will centre around uplifting the social, cultural, and economic position of Brampton’s Black community.
Today, as a symbol of our commitment to change, our commitment to paving a new way forward, and recognizing our past, I am proud to say that Brampton is now home to Emancipation Park.
Also, Brown said Brampton is a mosaic of cultures and diversity that should be celebrated. No one should have to face any hardships or discrimination because of the colour of their skin. I am confident that with the right people at the table, we can have meaningful conversations and am looking forward to working more closely with Brampton’s Black community.
When we asked Mayor Brown that Brampton is not going to build any more streets and parks, so they are bailing out the old one to honour some communities or a person, “ Brown said the councillors and community picked it, and the reason this park was not personally named to recognized no one it was just 407 and Dixie park, so it was easy to rename it, but the real reason behind this still a story itself.