Thursday, July 14, 2016
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory Get an Earful at "anti-racism" Meeting
“If it wasn’t for Black Lives Matter, we wouldn’t be here.”
That was one of the first things heard by the 500 or so attendees of a hotly followed anti-racism community meeting held by the Ontario government on Thursday night.
The first of several community meetings to be held this year by the province’s newly created anti-racism directorate saw a packed crowd at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park venting their frustrations through microphones set-up inside the auditorium.
“We’ve heard you tell us racism is real,” said one young man when it came to his turn at the mic. “It’s time for action.”
It was a sentiment echoed by several others, including some who proclaimed “Black lives matter” to the sound of applause before beginning their own remarks.
“The people sitting at the table need to look like and sound like us,” said one woman.
The province announced the creation of the anti-racism directorate in February of this year.
Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged it’s “not a new conversation.”
“Part of my job is acknowledging that we haven’t done enough,” Wynne told the audience before the microphones were opened up to the audience.
People were not afraid to speak out from their seats and address Wynne, Michael Coteau - the minister responsible for anti-racism - and Mayor John Tory.
“I’m not angry, I’m disappointed,” said one person during Wynne’s remarks. “What you need to do is your job.”
When Coteau revealed the budget for the directorate is $5 million, someone quickly spoke out: “$5 million is peanuts!”
And as Tory sat writing notes, one woman at the mic called him out: “You are here and you can’t even address us. You are a coward.”
Tory eventually took the mic and informed the audience there will be more meetings this year.
In an e-mail sent to Black Lives Matter Toronto, the mayor’s office notes both he and the city want to consult on “systemic racism, specifically anti-black, anti-aboriginal, and anti-Islamic racism,” and that these consultations will begin in September.
Please share this