Mother of Montreal teen allegedly targeted in racist video speaks out

Click to play video: 'Mother of Montreal teen allegedly targeted in racist video speaks out' Mother of Montreal teen allegedly targeted in racist video speaks out
WATCH: The mother of a teenager named in a blackface video made by a pair of teenage girls from the West island is speaking out. The woman, who does not want to be identified, says her son is the alleged victim and the family is now seeking to file a human rights complaint. Global's Phil Carpenter has this exclusive story – Jun 23, 2020

The family of the alleged target of a blackface video in Montreal that was widely shared on social media is seeking to file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

The mother, who doesn’t want to be identified by name in order to protect her son, who is a minor, told Global News that her son’s name was mentioned in the video.

Read more: Racist video sparks condemnation, questions about racism in Montreal’s West Island

“The two girls appeared in the video in blackface and also mentioned his name specifically,” she said.  “He was targeted.”

In the video the lyrics expressed hatred for Black people and compared someone with her son’s name to a monkey.

The woman explained that her son was friends with the girls when he lived in Montreal’s West Island but that the friendship soured late 2019.  According to her the video hurt her son profoundly.

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“I’ve noticed it affects his mood, his decision making,” she noted.  “He’s questioning a lot his place in society as well.”

She and the teen are now working with the civil rights advocacy group, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), to bring a complaint to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.

“He was basically a target of racist insults in the form of public humiliation,” CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi told Global News.  “So legally he does have a recourse.”

The family will seek financial damages but they are also pushing for something else.

Read more: Police say no charges stemming from racist video allegedly created by Montreal teens

“Blackface, we hope to have it declared as a hate symbol, and a symbol of racism to be outlawed by our existing human rights legislation,” Niemi pointed out.

Global News reached out to the families of the two girls.  One family wasn’t available and the other refused an interview.  According to Niemi, the school the girls attended, John Renie High School, as well as the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) could be held liable.

“[The video] very likely has created a toxic environment for every Black student at the school and at the school board,” he pointed out.
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At a special online meeting Monday night the board voted to create an action plan to tackle racism and discrimination.

“It has to be a collaborative and cooperative effort if we are going to ensure as we always strive to, a safe and secure environment for our students and our staff,” Chairperson Noel Burke told the meeting.  “To do so even means looking at our own policies.”

The mother of the alleged target of the video is looking forward to seeing what action is taken and she’s looking forward to a fair resolution of the situation for her son.

“This is really putting our foot down to make an impact and saying that there should be repercussions whenever someone does blackface,” she said.

Click to play video: 'No charges for Montreal teens in racist video' No charges for Montreal teens in racist video
No charges for Montreal teens in racist video – Jun 17, 2020

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