City Councillor Rawlson King. Photo courtesy of Coun. King’s Instagram page.
JHAMESHA MILORD ASHFORD – OTTAWA • ON | 31-12-2020
At the end of 2020, CHUO connected with Rideau-Rockcliffe City Coun. Rawlson King on how he and his team have been dealing with the pandemic.
A major accomplishment this year that he’s proud of was the establishment of an Anti-Racism Secretariat, an office which he says will pursue equity of opportunity and equity of outcome for all people in the city.
A major challenge this year that Coun. King mentioned was COVID-19 and how the marginalized communities in his ward were vulnerable and harshly affected by the pandemic. He had called on Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to look into COVID-19 race-based data back in April because “without the data, it’s very difficult to manage without being able to measure,” he said.
In order to be able to help those in need, King said we need to know where the cases are.
“It was very important to actually do that, so that we could have adequate health system planning and resource allocation,” he added.
Once data confirmed that the pandemic was disproportionately affecting Black residents, OPH was able to work with community members on programs meant to address those issues and help the vulnerable communities.
Aside from that, according to King, an issue that needs to be prioritized and tackled right now is poverty. The councillor plans on releasing a poverty reduction strategy in the new year.
“We haven’t had one in ten years,” he said.
It is an issue that he’s really passionate about, as many children in his ward live in poverty.
For 2021, Coun. King said it’s going to be important to continue to move forward with the City of Ottawa’s Anti-Racism Secretariat and develop policies. He also hopes that, by the end of next year, there will be a formal strategy introduced for poverty reduction and that real work will start coming to life.