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Waterloo professor: 'WRPS can't bring change just by hiring Black'

Associate Professor Kathy Hogarth says regional police need to lay out a plan of reassessment in order to create any kind of change
WRPS Headquarters in Cambridge. (Erin Anderson/KitchenerToday)

Members of the community are asking for change -- especially when it comes to the lack of diversity at the regional police board's decision-making table.

Kathy Hogarth is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo & Author of 'A Space for Race'.

She tells KitchenerToday with Brian Bourke on 570 NEWS, she has been talking to Chief Brian Larkin for years about bringing more diversity to the decision-making table.

"It's a conversation that has been silenced and it is now back again on the table because of the outcry from the community. But if what we're going to engage in is a token approach to dealing with it, this is not what systemic change looks like."

She says you cannot expect to bring change just by hiring a Black person.

"So unless we are willing to do the uncomfortable, hard task of challenging ourselves -- forget it. We are only asking someone -- a Black person, to come on the board to frustrate them. If we are not willing to look at ourselves, to look at the system -- challenge the system to change."

Hogarth says it would be useless to add a person of colour to the table without laying out a plan of reassessment.

"If it is that we are going to bring on a Black person to the board, is it to satisfy a call for colour? If it is about colour, then sorry, we don't need to be there. If it's about questioning what we do and how we do it, then there is room for additional voices at that table."

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