Racist flyers found at school prompts police investigation in Ajax

By

Published May 13, 2023 at 7:01 am

Racist flyers have been discovered on school property and throughout neighbourhoods in Ajax, prompting a police investigation and condemnation from community leaders.

The flyers, which contained “dehumanizing anti-Black commentary and imagery” was discovered pinned to a portable at Eagle Ridge Public School on May 11. That same day Durham Regional Police confirm the discovery of “disturbing” imagery and writing in a neighbourhood near Ravenscroft Rd. and Rossland Rd, about two kilometres away.

Investigators did not confirm the nature of the imagery at the time, but the Town of Ajax and the school have now confirmed additional details. The flyer at Eagle Ridge was discovered by students who brought it to the attention of their teachers.

The flyer contained hateful images and an anti-Black slur, mention of “cleansing services” as well as a phone number to call or text “for more information.”

Mayor Shaun Collier later released a statement noting council was “outraged” by the flyer he said was “intended to explicitly target and perpetuate harm to the Black community.” Collier continued, “We offer our sincere regrets to anyone hurt by this incident. Anti-Black racism is violence. We decry and bring attention to incidents of hatred to call out the alarming and disgusting conduct and to let impacted communities know that we stand in solidarity with them.”

“We can and will do more to prevent racism in our Town. It perpetuates trauma and intentionally targets and humiliates racialized communities. Anti-Black racism and all acts of hate, violence and discrimination have no place in our Town,” he said.

He stressed Durham Police are investigating the “vile act” and town staff are on high alert.

This is the second time this week Collier has had to make a statement condemning hateful messages in town following the discovery of antisemitic graffiti on a trail along Achilles Rd on May 9. While Ajax did not specify where along the trail the graffiti was found, the general area is around seven kilometres from Ravenscroft Rd. and Rossland Rd. Police have not commented on the possibility of any connection.

May has been Jewish Heritage Month in Ajax since last year after controversy erupted around the naming of a street after Nazi Captain Hans Langsdorff, who commanded German forces during the Battle of River Plate. The town takes its name from a ship in the battle, HMS Ajax, and roads are commonly named after servicemen. The road was named Langsdorff Dr. in 2007 until it was renamed after British seaman V.G. Croker in 2021.

Ajax is among Canada’s most diverse towns with 65.6 per cent of residents identifying as non-white in the 2021 census. The town has the highest proportion of Black residents of all major Canadian urban centres at 16.8 per cent.

“Diversity is our strength,” Collier said, “We strive to continually lead with these values and beliefs that enable our community to develop their potential, bring their full self to work and engage in a place of understanding, learning and inclusivity.”

Ajax has worked hard to promote these ideals and anti-hate measures through a grant specialist to connect cultural institutions with Ontario’s $25 million Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures, established an Ajax Anti-Black Racism Task Force, and endorsed the National Coalition of Canadian Muslim’s recommendations to combat Islamophobia.

On a more hopeful note Collier later said, “In the wake of the discovery of disturbing hate flyers in the Town, I’ve learned about a beautiful display of support for the Black community in front of Alexander Graham Bell PS.”

 

 

 

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising