London, Ont. council committee recommends June 6 as ‘Day of Remembrance’ for Afzaal family

The Afzaal family. Yumna Afzaal (far left) was a 15-year-old high school student when the attack took place on June 6, 2021. Supplied by family

Councillors from London, Ont., want the city to proclaim June 6 as an official day of remembrance to honour the Afzaal family.

The day marks the anniversary of a tragic hit-and-run that killed four members of the family in what police allege was a hate-motivated attack based on their Muslim faith.

Sought by London and Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership, city council’s corporate services committee endorsed a request to proclaim a “Day of Remembrance for Our London Family.”

On June 6, 2021, the Afzaal family was out for an evening walk when they were struck by a pickup truck on the corner of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, “Not on our sidewalk” posters connected the route from a memorial display at the intersection to the London Muslim Mosque on Oxford Street. Thousands of Londoners attended a public vigil on June 8.

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Along with the proposed day of remembrance, the city is planning a permanent memorial to honour Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha Salman, his mother Talat Afzaal, and his 15-year-old daughter Yumnah Afzaal, all killed in the attack.

The accused driver, Nathaniel Veltman of London, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is scheduled to go on trial in September 2023.

On Monday, the corporate services committee unanimously supported the Our London Family Day application. The request goes to council for a full vote on May 24.

Acting mayor Josh Morgan said that he hopes his fellow councillors will approve the proclamation as it marks one of the objectives in the city’s “Action Plan to Disrupt Islamophobia.”

“One of the components of that plan is for us to recognize these days of significance and honour the family,” Morgan said. “I think this day of remembrance will be a very emotional time and I hope everyone supports it.”

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