UPDATE #2: The Dutch Groceries and Giftware store has confirmed that there will be no Black Pete at their event on December 2, in response to public opposition, thanks in large part to our petition. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who signed and shared the petition – you made this happen!
UPDATE #1: We learned on the weekend that the Ottawa Dutch School also has an annual party with Black Pete on December 2. The Dutch School is part of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) International Languages Program.
Please take a moment to phone the OCDSB at 613-721-1820 and the OCSB at 613-224-2222 to call on them to ensure THERE IS NO Black Pete at Ottawa school events.
You can also contact your OCSB school trustees here. And you can contact your OCDSB trustees here.
The Dutch School board chair Menno Spijker told Solidarity Ottawa member Irene Jansen that Black Pete’s appearance “varies from year to year dependent on the enthusiasm of the make-up artist … anywhere between the look of a coal miner to a fully covered face.” Mr. Spijker went on to write “Nowadays, the Zwarten Pieten are cool dudes that make clips on YouTube. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFSsoCWi06E :-)”.
We have written the following officials, asking them to intervene: Mark Mullan, OCSB Trustee for Zone 8, which includes St. Thomas More School, where the Dutch School and party take place; Jennifer Lake, OCSB Principal of Safe, Inclusive and Accepting Schools, and; Jacqueline Lawrence, Diversity & Equity Coordinator for the OCDSB.
On December 2, the Dutch Groceries and Giftware store in Ottawa will hold its annual public holiday party, with someone dressed as Black Pete, a racist caricature of Santa’s helper that remains popular in the Netherlands and among some Dutch Canadians. Dutch stores across Canada carry Black Pete chocolate, candy and other products and celebrate the occasion.
Dutch Groceries’ owners have refused to say whether the character will be in blackface at its holiday party, hanging up on customers who asked.
Please show owners and customers of Dutch businesses in Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada that racist portrayals of Black Pete are unacceptable. When you sign this petition, an email will be sent to the Ottawa store, and your signature will be added to a list presented to the owners and media. Read More.
Stop Black Pete
This petition is now closed.
End date: Dec 03, 2017
Signatures collected: 452
Signature goal: 400
Black Pete, or Zwarte Piet in Dutch, is the assistant to Sinterklaas, the wise and kind White saint who hands out presents. Black Pete is his bumbling dimwitted servant. Black Pete is usually presented in parades and parties by people in blackface – with black makeup, large red lips, black wig and gold hoop earrings. The practice is rooted in slavery and colonialism, in Canada as much as the Netherlands, and it contributes to persistent anti-Black racism across Canada today. Even the United Nations denounced Canada’s systemic racism.
There is a growing movement in the Netherlands and abroad against Black Pete practices. Unfortunately, Dutch stores across Canada continue to carry Black Pete chocolate, candy and other products and celebrate the occasion with blackface pageantry. Help build the movement here to end this racist practice. In 2017, the Black community and their allies will not be silent.
For more information, read this article on the issue.
This petition is endorsed by Solidarity Ottawa and the Caribbean Union of Canada.