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Calgary's commitment to anti-racism

Calgary's Commitment to Anti-Racism

Calgary’s population has become increasingly diverse with approximately three per cent Indigenous and 41 per cent Black and diverse Racialized Peoples, along with 56 percent of Calgarians identifying as White. 

Over the years, Calgarians have identified in research and through experiences that systemic racism is evident across various institutions such as health care, education, criminal justice, and child welfare. It is also apparent in municipal government and The City of Calgary wanted to start listening to Calgarians share their lived and living experiences with systemic racism.

What we have heard

The City is focused on and committed to proactively dismantling systemic racism and the root causes of racial inequities and racial injustices in municipal programs and services. The work of the Anti-Racism Program has been developed in response to the concerns of systemic racism, racial inequity, discrimination and oppression that harm Indigenous, Black and diverse Racialized Calgarians including City of Calgary employees.

From 2021 to 2022, over 2,700 people took part in community engagement, where they indicated that racism and discrimination are widespread and perpetuated through various systems and policies. 

  • In the City’s 2021 Street Harassment Survey of 500 people, 64 percent of Racialized Peoples indicated that they have experienced unwanted comments about their ethnicity or race.

  • In a 2021 Cultural Assessment Survey of 3000 City employees, 54 percent of diverse Racialized employees indicated that have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace.

SYSTEMIC RACISM structurally equips a racial group with the power to dominate others in social, political, and economic areas over time and generations. This is often reflected in policies, programs and practices that favour one racial group over others. Due to colonization, systemic racism is deeply rooted in the fabric of our society, thereby creating barriers that negatively impact the lives of Indigenous, Black and diverse Racialized Peoples. 

ANTI-RACISM is recognizing the existence of racism and taking active steps to name, challenge and eliminate it at all levels (individual and structural) and spheres of life. 

In the news

Watch a short news segment from Global News for a look at anti-racism work in Calgary following the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.  

2024 Racial Justice Conference

In March 2024, the City of Calgary hosted its inaugural Racial Justice Conference under the theme "Dismantling Systemic Racism; Transforming Lives.” Prior to planning the conference, six focus group sessions were held with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers, youth, City staff, community members, and members of the Anti-Racism Action Committee to ensure the conference reflects the needs of the City of Calgary’s employees and the wider community. Focus group participants provided insight and feedback on the conference themes, speakers, conference format, and identifying areas of racial equity and racial justice that needed to be further explored. Insights from these engagements influenced the planning and execution of the racial justice conference.

This two-day conference brought together over 1000 people each day including community members, City staff, and Elected Officials. The conference provided an opportunity for participants to engage in critical conversations and deepen the understanding of systemic racism and its impact on Indigenous, Black, and diverse Racialized Peoples. With over 90 diverse speakers and 32 breakout sessions, the conference provided the attendees with the knowledge and skills to go beyond dialogue but towards actionable anti-racist actions that centers the lived and living experiences of Indigenous, Black, and diverse Racialized Peoples.

Special thanks to the volunteers, facilitators, speakers, sponsors, City Leadership, and everyone who attended. We look forward to continuing collaboration as we plan future conferences and engagements such as this. 

Calgary Anti-Racism Strategy - What a Gwaan National

The City launched its first anti-racism strategic plan that sets the foundation for unmasking and eliminating systemic racism deeply rooted in our society's fabric. Listen to the podcast interview featuring Dr. Linda Kongnetiman, Manager, Anti-Racism Program at the City of Calgary, to hear about the focus areas and what role we can play in helping implement the anti-racism strategic plan.

Presenters: Dr. Linda Kongnetiman, RSW (Manager, Anti-Racism Program), Donnovan Simon (Editor and Founder – What a Gwaan)

Anti-Racism Action Committee

The Anti-Racism Action Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of a community-based anti-racism strategy that achieves the goals outlined in the Notice of Motion.

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Council updates

On June 15, 2020, a Notice of Motion was passed titled Calgary’s commitment to anti-racism directing work to begin in a number of areas.

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Anti-racism resources

The City of Calgary Anti-Racism team encourages mutual understanding and respect through learning from one another. We’re often reminded of why this work is important and how we need to think about how we can do better.

In the spirit of continuous learning and shared understanding, here are some resources we recommend.

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Calgary's Anti-Racism Strategic Plan

This strategy sets the foundation for unmasking and eliminating systemic racism that is deeply rooted in the fabric of our society.

Learn more