The front page of the Toronto Metro newspaper on December 22, 2016 reads: “Rich, white homeowners have been controlling the city for far too long. But Jihan Abrahim is part of a movement looking to add new voices.”
The article deals with the diversity in the City of Toronto. Daniel Fusca, head of stakeholder engagement for Toronto’s planning department, told the Metro that “The people who come to our meetings are generally white, generally affluent homeowners.”
The Metro reported that “to fix it, Fusca and his colleagues created the Toronto Planning Review Panel. They sent out 12,000 invitations, and used a lottery process to pick 28 applicants who, together, reflect a city where nearly half of residents rent, 49 per cent are visible minorities and the median age is 39.”
To read the online version of the article click HERE.
On December 6, 2016, Toronto city council gave the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations to Black Lives Matter TO, the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence, police brutality.”
According to the official website of the City of Toronto, the City’s Access, Equity and Human Rights (AEHR) Awards “recognize people who, or programs that, have made a difference in Toronto by eliminating discrimination and barriers to equality.”
The AEHR Awards are administered by Equity, Diversity and Human Rights in the City Manager’s Office. The nominations come from the Toronto residents, and the five recipients are selected by a panel of community individuals “with expertise and knowledge of issues pertinent to the awards.”
The following is the text of the decision explaining why Black Lives Matter – Toronto is eligible for the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations:
“Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO) is a diverse coalition of Black activists, students, workers, and parents who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities.
“The Toronto chapter of the international movement works to bring a Canadian-specific narrative to the global fight against anti-Blackness and to (re)build the Black Liberation movement.
“BLM – TO is a platform for Black communities to actively dismantle all forms of anti-black racism, liberate blackness, support black healing, affirm Black existence, and create freedom to love and self-determine.
“Their mission is to forge critical connections and to work in solidarity with Black communities, Black-centric networks, solidarity movements, and allies in order to dismantle all forms of violence and brutality committed against Black peoples.
“In just two years, the coalition has shaken up politics in Toronto, forcing the issue of anti-Black racism as a priority for municipal, provincial, and federal policy makers, local and international media, and the public.
“Their two-week long occupation of Toronto Police Headquarters during winter, shut down of the Allen expressway, and sit-in at the Toronto Pride Parade are just a few examples of their commitment to direct people-led sustained action.
“BLM – TO is loud, strategic, and persistent.
“BLM – TO’s work extends to the affirmation of Black lives. They have organized a Black-victims focused Take Back the Night march, community healing spaces, and children’s programming. This includes their Freedom School initiative which is an arts-based summer program for Black children in the GTA. The program offers an alternative setting to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history and to engage them in political resistance to anti-Black racism through a trans-feminist lens.”
“BLM – TO uplifts the lives of Black queer and trans, disabled, Muslim, undocumented, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, women, and lives along the identity and expression spectrum.
“BLM – TO includes those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.
“BLM – TO is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. They put sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project – taking the hashtag off of social media and putting it into the streets.
“Black Lives Matter is not a moment, it’s a movement.”
Background information on Black Lives Matter – Toronto: