On June 6, 2021, three members of the Afzaal family were killed in an Islamophobic terror attack in London, Ontario, leaving only the youngest member of their family alive. In response to this attack, and the overall rise of Islamophobia, today the Ontario NDP tabled the Our London Family Act, a piece of legislation developed in collaboration with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
The bill takes multiple steps to address the rising tide of Islamophobia and hate in Ontario, and will ensure the following:
- A provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario in order to reduce their occurrences.
- Safe zones around religious institutions, which are often the targets of intimidation and hate-motivated demonstrations.
- New tools and strategies for Ontario schools to combat all forms of racism, including Islamophobia.
- Empowerment of the Speaker to ban protests at Queen’s Park that incite racist, homophobic, transphobic or xenophobic hate.
- Dismantling white supremacist groups by preventing them from registering as societies.
- The establishment of an Ontario Anti-Racism Advisory and Advocacy Council, to make sure racialized communities have a say on government policies that impact their lives.
This past Monday was Family Day, and to celebrate I brought some books to June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mount Pleasant for a giveaway!
Before going into more details, I need to start with a huge shoutout to children’s author, and local resident Amanda Minuk for her incredibly gracious donation of copies of her own books (that she was also kind enough to sign). Everyone should go check out her website, and social media pages to learn more about her impactful work.
It was fantastic to have the chance to meet and speak with residents on a whole range of topics, from health care to childcare, to affordable housing – and more. I want to thank everyone who took the time to come by to chat and pick up a book.
I’m looking forward to doing this again soon!
Today, was the 37th Annual Jamaican Patty Day, and to celebrate I spent some time this afternoon in Little Jamaica at the launch of Caribbean Eats! It was great to celebrate the day with the Black Business and Professional Association, York Eglinton BIA, and Mayor John Tory. It was great to see so many folks coming out to support the launch of this new business!
Go check them out at 1860 Eglinton Ave West!
Yesterday at Queen’s Park, I was honoured to rise to deliver remarks commemorating Black History Month, and in those remarks, I called for more action from governments to ensure the safety of Black lives, to uplift and amplify our Black futures – not only in February – but 365 days a year. I’m honoured to have the platform that I have, and I will never relent in my advocacy for Black folks. While there has been significant progress, with hard fought gains coming year after year – the truth is that there is still a long way to go.
I also rose to speak about the horrors of human trafficking, and how addressing it must start with understanding the context and circumstances where it takes place.
Community Shout Outs
I’ve got a few quick community shout outs today!
First up, I’d like to give a big shout out to the great folks from the Linden School who invited me this morning to their event Celebrating Black Voices and Literature. I took the opportunity to read and reflect on excerpts of “Make the World New” by Lilian Allan, and “We’re Rooted Here and They Can’t Pull Us Up – Essays in African Canadian Women’s History” by Peggy Bristow, Dionne Brand, Linda Carty, Afua P. Cooper, Sylvia Hamilton and Adrienne Shadd!
Next, I want to remind everyone that coming up tomorrow at 7PM, the Wychwood Barns Community Association, the St. Clair West Oral History Project, the Artscape Wychwood Barns, Storytelling Toronto, and the Nia Centre for the Arts are collaborating on an exciting event titled: Black History at the Barns.
It will be an online multi-media event and if you’re interested in tuning in you should register right away.
In their own words: Join host Tabby Johnson as she guides you through stories from award-winning Storytelling Toronto author and storyteller Itah Sadu, readings from Griot: Six Writers’ Sojourn Into the Dark, and a screening of short film TXN: A Decade in Review.
On Monday – I’m proud to be helping host a vaccination clinic with Women’s College Hospital and the For Youth Initiative (FYI) – at FYI’s Vaughan and Oakwood location.
You can see all the details in the flyer below.
I’d also like to remind everyone that I’m still looking for nominations for my Toronto-St. Paul’s Community Awards! If you know a community member, organization, or business that’s made a difference in our community – make sure to submit your nomination here.
Finally, today, it’s Pink Shirt Day – and I want to send a message of support to anyone in our community who might be suffering as a result of bullying right now – I stand with you – and so does our community. We must all redouble our efforts and ensure that we’re never passive bystanders to someone else’s pain. Let’s work together to end bullying forever.