Ontario township seeks new namesake, however will maintain its identify: mayor

An jap Ontario township is making ready to show its again on the slave proprietor it is named for.

It simply will not flip its again on the identify.

Mayor Pierre Leroux says Russell Township had been the topic of on-line scorn over the previous week as a result of it was named for Peter Russell, an 18th-century authorities official who delayed the abolition of slavery.

Some referred to as for the identify to be modified, whereas others stated it ought to stay the identical.

Leroux says he and his 18-year-old son got here up with a special answer: select a brand new Russell.

Leroux plans to convey ahead a discover of movement at a council assembly on Monday night time, saying residents not need their residence to be related to Peter Russell.

He stated members of the neighborhood will probably be requested to submit contenders named Russell.

“We do not share the values, we by no means have shared the values, of Mr. Peter Russell, and we’re trying to transfer ahead,” he stated.

The query of whether or not to rebrand buildings, streets and cities is a part of a broader dialog about systemic racism and Canada and all over the world, sparked partly by the dying of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died final month when a white police officer held a knee towards his neck for practically 9 minutes, placing the anti-racist motion again within the highlight.

Elsewhere in Ontario, there have been calls to rename Dundas Avenue, which was named for Henry Dundas, an 18th-century politician who delayed Britain’s abolition of slavery by 15 years. The road runs by way of Toronto and quite a few neighbouring cities and cities.

In Russell, Leroux stated, there have been a wide range of causes they did not need to change the identify altogether, together with the enterprise homeowners who’ve constructed their manufacturers in town identify.

“And in the event you change the city identify, what occurs to all these organizations who’ve constructed up a repute for being kindhearted loving folks and unbelievable companies? You are saying, properly, that identify is by default nonetheless tied to this man 200 years in the past,” he stated.

Whereas he stated his son got here up with the concept on the fly, they later discovered there’s precedent.

In 1986, King County in Washington State made the identical transfer.

The county was initially named for the slave dealer William Rufus DeVane King, however a movement to vary the namesake explains that Martin Luther King Jr. is extra in step with residents’ beliefs.

Leroux stated he is hoping Russell’s residents can even discover their excellent namesake.

“I may see college initiatives the place the scholars discuss what is going on on on the planet, they usually’re getting collectively they usually’re making submissions on learn how to transfer ahead and who they assume finest represents the values now we have and the historical past now we have,” he stated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed June 13, 2020.