10,000 signatures reached
To: Toronto City Council
Let's Rename Dundas Street in Toronto
In the wake of two weeks of protests against police murder and racial injustice, Toronto City Council can take a constructive and symbolic step toward disavowing its historic associations with persons who have actively worked toward preserving systems of racial inequality and exploitation.
As such, we ask that Toronto City Council begin a public process to rename Dundas Street in the city of Toronto to honour a more appropriate person, place or event.
We also believe that this process should be transparent and undertaken in partnership particularly with Black-lead organisations and historical societies, Indigenous groups and other community representatives that accurately reflect the rich cultural diversity of the City of Toronto, in order to create a long list of potential candidates.
Why is this important?
The legacy of Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville is highly problematic.
As the MP for Midlothian in Westminster and as Secretary of State he actively participated in obstructing the abolition of slavery in the British Empire from 1791 to the end of his political career in 1806. Slavery was eventually abolished in 1833 and officially in British North America in 1834. But Dundas' actions to preserve the profiteering of his friends in the slave trade, cost tens of thousands of lives, if not more.
Also he was the last British MP to be impeached - for embezzlement and misappropriation of funds - though not convicted.
If we truly wish for our public street names and monuments to reflect our values and priorities we must consider engaging the public in the process of excising those names which are no longer worthy of our honour or respect. Names such as that of Henry Dundas.
Street names change frequently and it's important that this one does.
It is also worth mentioning that Dundas's monument in Edinburgh, Scotland has been the target of recent demonstrations and calls for that city to consider removing it.