RUSSELL — The mayor of Russell Township has condemned a bone-breaking racist assault on a child that has again cast a wider media spotlight on this rural Eastern Ontario municipality on matters related to race.
The injured 10-year-old boy, who is Black, was out cycling with a friend Sept. 22 when they came upon two White boys of similar age, one of whom repeatedly used the n-word to describe the victim before hitting him with a scooter. The other boy then broke the victim’s arm by jumping on the limb, according to the story that emerged yesterday out of a social media post investigated by the CBC, which has reported speaking to the victim’s mother and confirming the incident with police.
This morning, in a follow-up post, the mayor highlights township council’s Sept. 21 establishment of a new Community Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee as evidence of what his township is doing to combat racism.
The original social media post highlighting the assault — by a person describing the victim as their nephew — also asserts that police told the family that calling someone the n-word is not illegal.
Bill Dickson of the OPP similarly highlighted during the CBC broadcast that individuals under the age of 12 can’t be charged with crimes, under Canadian Law.
The timing of the incident follows a spring-summer period in which Russell hosted a peaceful ‘Walk of Solidarity’ march inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and embarked on a quest to find another namesake for the township. Aiming to cast off the memory of slave owner Peter Russell — but without dropping that surname — Russell Township currently seeks another person by the name of Russell to honour as the source of its moniker.