We will pick another ‘Russell’ as our township’s namesake

The Editor:

Dear Residents of Russell Township,

In the past few weeks, events around the world have highlighted the issues of racism and discrimination. It has brought to the forefront, the need for conversations, understanding and reflection now more than ever.

Kurt Russell by Gage Skidmore 2

A 2013 image of American actor Kurt Russell. Anyone named Russell is set to be eligible for the honour as the new inspiration behind Russell Township’s name, replacing Peter Russell of 200-plus years ago, Mayor Pierre Leroux has announced. Photo by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

In a growing movement around the world, the recognition of historical figures through statues, street names, and even towns, associated with racism or slavery are being condemned.

While in our little corner of the world Russell Township is far from these negativities, we cannot hide from the past. We need only look at our own history to see that Russell Village, Township and County were named after Peter Russell, a slave owner and government official, who helped slow down legislation to end slavery in our region.

Peter Russell of 200 years ago by no means embodies the Russell of Today, or even the Russell of the past. However we cannot deny the current origin of our name.

That is why along with Councillor Tarnowski as my seconder, we are bringing forward a notice of motion at Monday Night’s Council meeting. This notice of motion acknowledges and confirms that neither Russell Township nor its resident’s want to be associated with Peter Russell from 200 years ago.

This is why we are proposing to re-dedicate the Russell namesake through the creation of a community based committee. Residents will be invited to make submissions as to why they think someone is worthy of our township’s dedication.

The only criteria for these submissions will be that whoever is being nominated, must have the first name or last name, RUSSELL.

Our community will be tasked with choosing who best represents us. Through cooperation, investigation and dialogue, we will determine which “Russell” best defines us.

This endeavour (if approved by Council) acknowledges our past, confirms the amazing community we live in today, and becomes an example for our future.

Working together is only ONE of the reasons Russell Township is a wonderful place to live.

Mayor Pierre Leroux


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