In honour of Nelson Mandela Day, community organizations and prominent figures will lend their voices to compel the City of Montreal to hold public consultations and develop workable strategies against systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal. 

Balarama Holness, a former municpal election candidate with Projet Montreal, spearheaded the idea with a lawter after alleging that he was touted as the party's "visible minority" in order to sway voters. 

He also reproached the Plante administration when he was not offered a seat on the Executive Committee. 

Balarama said it's vital that people put pressure on the city and get them to uphold their promises -- not wait for them to take action. 

"This is a systemic issue that is not new," he explained. "Systemic racism has been in existence for 375 years -- what we cannot have is another four years and give this administration the benefit of the doubt. We are going to take this initiative, put people first, and really force the city to have this conversation."

If the City of Montreal refuses to voluntarily hold a public consultation on systemic racism, Holness believes the process may require a petition amassing 15,000 signatures.

In a press conference Sunday, Holness and Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRAAR) Executive Director Fo Niemi addressed a dozen systemic issues, ranging from minority underrepresentation in the city's work force and boards, racial profiling, poverty, and lack of fair access to housing. 

Sunday's event was all about getting different community groups together under one roof to show their support for the consultation by signing the petition and sharing their experiences with racism.

A dozen speakers from a handful of organizations and sectors will address these issues, including Councillor Marvin Rotrand and leaders from the English and French-speaking Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, student, and other minority groups.