In an effort to rally the public around its mission, the group behind Rename Dundas Street has launched a new online campaign. The campaign includes a new website as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Rename Dundas Street began last June with a petition asking the city of Toronto to change the name of the street, claiming that its namesake, Henry Dundas, actively fought against the movement for racial equality and an end to slavery, and was ultimately impeached as a British MP.
Toronto activist and artist Andrew Lochhead is the creator of the initial “Let’s Rename Dundas Street” petition. He says the new campaign and website will help the community get involved in the movement.
“People are often asking me how they can help with renaming Dundas,” Lochhead says. “This new site will answer a lot of those questions.”
People who are interested in learning more about the campaign can find more information on Henry Dundas, his life and his role in obstructing the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade on the new website. They can also find instructions and templates for writing to city councillors about the renaming of the street.
Rename Dundas Street has also shared an open letter addressed to city councillors for elders, community leaders, scholars and artists or “global knowledge keepers” to sign and share.
“All across the world, Black, Indigenous, other racialized and/or marginalized communities, and their allies have long been demanding meaningful action to confront the systemic racism, trauma, and violence embedded in public commemorative infrastructure,” the letter reads. “We stand in solidarity with these calls and believe that the City of Toronto has an obligation to listen to those voices and to act now to address these concerns.”
Earlier this month, the City of Toronto published the results of their consultations with a diverse range of expert scholars, concluding that the actions of Henry Dundas and those of the British government he served contributed to the perpetuation of the enslavement of human beings.
The City’s full report and recommendations on renaming the street as well as a proposed review of all municipal place names and a new framework to guide the commemoration of people and events is set to be published on June 29, 2021.