BACK in the RING Again: We are demanding Fair Treatment For Justice McLeod

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Justice Donald McLeod of the Ontario Court of Justice is a well-respected leader in  Black communities across Canada. He has taken a courageous stance to combat anti-Black racism and advance in a non-partisan way the issues that affect people of African descent.  

On December 20, 2018, a Hearing Panel of the Ontario Judicial Council dismissed a complaint against Justice Donald McLeod regarding his involvement in combating anti-Black racism and using his lived experience to address the diverse needs of people of African descent across Canada. (See the Hearing Panel’s reasons for dismissing the complaint here:

https://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/files/ojc/decisions/2018-mcleod-EN.docx

Since that time, the Judicial Council has again challenged Justice McLeod regarding his role in the community. In our view, these new allegations undermine trust between the community and our public institutions. We are concerned that the establishment is placing one of the few Black judges of the Ontario Court of Justice under disproportionate scrutiny. The new allegations are particularly troubling given the adoption by Canada and Ontario of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, given its themes of development, recognition and justice. The allegations diminish and tarnish the important and appropriate role that Black leaders, including judges, can play in their communities. 

We support Justice McLeod's commitment to advance positive change in the futures of our current and upcoming generations, eradicate systemic anti-Black racism and to see Canada fulfill its commitment to all of its citizens. The Ontario Judicial Council ruling in Justice McLeod’s first hearing recognized the legitimate moral obligation racialized judges may feel to act as leaders and role models within communities directly impacted by racism based on their lived experience. 

That is why we, the undersigned, support Justice Donald McLeod. We deplore a judicial standard, in which Black judges are required to forget their lived experience and to turn their back on their community.