Ausma Malik, a NDP-backed trustee for the Toronto District School Board (Ward 10), delivered a speech at the anti Trump rally in that took place in Toronto on January 21, 2017.
The rally was supported by, The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 343, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, The Ontario Federation of Labour, The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), The Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP), United Steelworkers and UNIFOR.
In her speech, Malik, who defined herself as a proud feminist, Muslim and a person of colour, claimed that “global networks promote sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and racism.” Malik did not identify these “global networks” by name. The following is the transcript of Ausma Malik‘s speech:
Good afternoon friends, how are you doing? Thank you Kavita [Dogra] and all of you. My name is Ausma Malik. I am an elected school board trustee here in Toronto. I am a proud feminist proud, a proud Muslim and a proud person of colour.
I am a proud Torontonian, a proud activist and I am so proud to be marching here with you today. I am also proud to be the first hijab wearing Muslim woman elected to public office in Canada. But getting there wasn’t easy.
When I ran in the city of Toronto election in 2014, I experienced a well resourced vicious and organized campaign of hate, Islamophobia, lies and innuendo against me. I was repeatedly targeted for who I am and the work I’ve done on human rights issues.
But I also experience the absolute blessed of who we are as Torontonians and as human beings. Together women from all walks of life lead the fight, stood close and joined me to champion justice, fairness and opportunity for all in the face of the hate and we won. On Election Day in October 2014, people of this city used their voices, their organizing and their ballot to say no to hate, no to racism, no to Islamophobia and no to fear mongering.
For too many of us our fear is real and it is relentless. For too many of us who we are is a weapon used against us, to degrade us, to humiliate us and to erase us. The only way forward is constant vigilant organizing that includes everyone. And as the school board trustee, I believe that education should be at the heart of our efforts.
Education is one of the few pathways to equity, equality and justice that we have left in the world. Good education makes us question our assumptions, challenge power and recognize our own privilege. Good education ensures that people from marginalized communities are seen, that all of our stories are told, that no matter who we are, where we come from or what we believe in, our humanity is affirmed, not erased. Good education reminds us that we stand on their shoulders of remarkable people. It shows us what was possible even when it was hard to believe that it could be done.
And we are in a moment that is hard to believe. Where it is hard to hope. We are in a moment where global networks promote sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and racism. They’re working very hard to undermine people like us, but together we stand firm.
Because black lives matter, because justice for Indigenous women and trans people are worth fighting for, because women’s choices must be respected and protected.
Looking out into this crowd, look at what we have already accomplished. I hear your voices. I see your strength. I feel our collective power. Our struggles are connected, and we must stand with each other today and every single day. Together we will never back down. We will invite kindness, empathy and love. We will channel our rage into creativity, organizing and action, and this is how together we win. Thank you.
- NDP Anti-Trump protest in Toronto: “Love Trump Hate” – photo gallery (click HERE)
- Anti Trump rally: “We believe all survivors” of alleged sexual assaults (click HERE)
- Anti Trump protest in Toronto: “We are all Muslims now” (click HERE)
- Anti Trump protest in Toronto: “We’re going to fight capitalism with revolution” (click HERE)
- Questions about Toronto school trustee candidate (click HERE)
- Toronto principal: “Homosexuals are cursed by Allah”, LGBTQ “not permissible” (click HERE)