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The “challenge activity” was developed by the region’s Inclusive Durham Committee, who in December reportedly ordered the removal of a Second World War exhibit for its display of the German “Iron Cross” symbol.

Author Desmond Cole posted a tweet sharing the exercise that encouraged regional employees to  “have a conversation with a Black employee,” cook an “African meal” or dance to a reggae song, the Sun reports.

A region twitter account responded to the tweet explaining their recognition of Black History Month “include opportunities for staff to learn more about Black history, culture and achievements.”

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An apology for the off-color proposal was finally given Thursday in a statement by Regional Chair John Henry and CAO Elaine Baxter Trahair.

Durham Region had to issue an apology after their Black History Month scavenger hunt sparked harsh backlash online. “As part of Durham Region’s Black History Month initiatives, an internal challenge activity for Durham Region staff was a mistake,” the statement read.

“It has caused harm to our Black employees and community — damaging the inclusive culture that we are trying to build. We take responsibility and we are committed to doing better,” it continued.

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