Days away from the second anniversary of an alleged anti-Islamic attack that killed four members of a Muslim family, London is being given more money for programs to fight hate and racism.
The provincial government announced on Thursday the city will receive $500,000 to implement new campaigns aimed at keeping all community members safe. The new funds will be used to help launch a print and digital public education campaign and an online library of anti-hate resources, including guides, videos, and bystander tips.
"We stand firmly against hate and racism. Our government’s support for these new initiatives will help to foster unity, understanding and a safer community free from intolerance," Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Rob Flack said in a statement. "I hope the legacies of Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha Salman, their daughter Yumnah and her grandmother, Talat Afzaal inspire a future where there is no place for hate in London and the province of Ontario."
The Afzaal family was out for an evening walk on June 6, 2021 when a pickup truck mounted the curb at Hyde Park and South Carriage roads and hit them before the driver sped off. Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal, and Salman Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother Talat Afzaal were killed. The family's young son was the lone survivor of the attack.
London police allege the attack was a planned, premeditated act motivated by hate based on the family's religious beliefs. A 22-year-old man is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is scheduled to go to trial this September.
Both the city and province believe the new initiatives being funded will help raise awareness about the wide-spread impacts of hate and provide strategies for identifying and addressing it and prevent future hate-motivated incidents.
"London is committed to fostering a community that rejects hate and embraces inclusivity," said London Mayor Josh Morgan. "Not only must we speak out against hatred, we must also take decisive and tangible action – and that’s exactly what this funding allows us to do."