Yesterday I attended an action at Nathan Phillips Square to listen to and learn from community members on the front lines of police violence.
So many folks came out to share their expertise: Robyn Maynard, representatives from Students Mobilizing Against Systemic Hardship (SMASH) U of T, TTC Riders, Encampment Support Network (ESN) Parkdale, Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, No Pride in Policing, Project Butterfly, folks experiencing homelessness in Toronto, Claudette Beals-Clayton (the mother of Regis Korchinski-Paquet), and the family of Taresh Bobby Ramroop - not to mention the dozens of additional community members and neighbours who showed up in support.
Mayor John Tory is set to inflate the policing budget by $48.3 million, and budgets like these reveal priorities. Our city, like many cities across the province, is experiencing an unprecedented surge in visible homelessness, and too often police are presented as a "solution" to this "problem"; whether it's through encampment clearings or armed fare inspectors on the TTC, Black and Indigenous folks are bearing the brunt of these interactions and, as we've seen too often, these meetings can be fatal. We need to shift these priorities.
I don't believe allocating yet more money to the police budget is the appropriate solution for the problems our communities are facing - problems often borne of systemic inequities in housing, food insecurity, mental health, restorative justice, the list goes on. We need all levels of government to invest heavily in community to address the social determinants of health from an anti-racist and anti-oppression framework and get to the root causes of these problems.
I support calls to divest from the police and invest in community so folks like the ones I met yesterday can stop meeting one another in profound sorrow and anger.
Our town hall is TOMORROW! January 26th at 7 pm I will be co-hosting an online town hall with Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden to discuss the private-public partnership (P3) model's effects on our efforts to build light rail transit (LRT) systems in Ottawa and Toronto.
This is nowhere near a new issue for our community, and I've spoken out about the problems with the Crosstown LRT in the past:
On Thursday, MPP Harden and I will be joined by ATU members, TTC riders, community members, and business representatives to discuss the ongoing impact this situation is having on many neighborhoods.
If you want to join us, be sure to RSVP here!
It was such a joy to attend the York Fairbank Centre for Seniors Health Fair this afternoon and discuss all things "living well"! Thank to you to every presenter and participant who came out to attend - I always love getting to spend time with the senior members of our community!
Last week I attended a wonderful event at Holy Blossom to celebrate Dahlia Lithwick and her new book, "Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America." Thank you to Dahlia and Rabbi Splansky for this inspiring conversation!
Our friends at Canadian Women's Foundation are hosting an art contest for youth aged 7 to 16! Create a piece of art based on this prompt: What does helping someone in an unsafe situation look like? The deadline is February 6 at 12PM. Find more information here!
A reminder to get your tickets to see Jesse Ryan & Kaiso Street Collective on February 17 at 7PM. See here!
Our friends at Sending Sunshine have reached out to request help from you! These lovely folks are working to combat social isolation and loneliness among senior community members by providing them with handwritten cards.
If you've got a stamp to spare, consider writing an uplifting note to an elder Ontarian to spread a little of our famous Toronto-St. Paul's joy!
DesignTO art exhibitions will be coming to Yonge and St Clair from today to January 29!
Learn more about the artists and plan your visits here!
The spectacular Holy Blossom Temple Out of the Cold Community Dinner commenced last night and will be running EVERY THURSDAY at 5PM until March 30th at 1950 Bathurst St (entrance on Dewbourne Avenue)! Spread the word to folks in need!!!! Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who make services like this possible!
See here for more info:
Doors open each Thursday at 5PM and close at 7PM.