Transcript - Anti-Racism Directorate Scarborough public meeting
The Anti-Racism Directorate held its fourth public community meeting on October 5, 2016 at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Toronto.
Read the transcript below to learn more about what we heard during our first meeting.
The following is a transcript created with real-time captioning software. It is not verbatim and may contain errors. This transcript may not be copied or disseminated to anyone else unless you obtain written permission from the Anti-Racism Directorate. This transcript may not be used in a court of law. This transcript has been lightly edited to protect the privacy of those who attended the meeting.
>> Ginelle: Good Evening, everyone. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for being here this evening and let you know we'll be getting started shortly. The Minister is on his way. He was held up a little bit with the vote, but should be here shortly and we'll get started promptly. Thanks so much. And Good Evening, everyone. We just want to call the meeting to order. So if everyone can take their seats, we'll get started in just a few minutes.
>>Ginelle: Hello again, everyone. We're going to get started in about five minutes. Good Evening, everyone. Please take your seats. I am pleased to welcome you to this public meeting in Scarborough, one of several meetings The Ontario government will be holding across the province to hear from you, the public, about key systemic racism issues and priorities. I am Janelle Skerritt and in my day job I am the Executive Director at Warden Woods Community Center right here in southwest Scarborough and I'll be your moderator for this evening.
>>Ginelle: I'd like to introduce first Steve Teekins, an Anishinaabe from First Nation who will provide an opening ceremony to get us off on the right foot.
>> Steve: Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming tonight. And thank you for the introduction. I think it was really great that we have the audience we have here tonight. I know sometimes when we talk about racism it brings up feelings of hurt, feelings of pain, and it really touches us to our core. I think we understand some of us are going to speak and a lot of emotions may come up. And it’s often difficult to get your words out in the right way. I would like to acknowledge this territory in which we are in. This is known as the Territory of the Mississauga to the New Credit First Nation people. Prior to that, this was a Territory of the Haudenosaunee People and Iroquois People. Prior to that it was the Territory of the Huron Windaf Peoples. This is also known as the territory where the trees of One Spoon One Dish Treaty exists. This is a peace treaty which predates contact which was made between the Iroquois people and the Anishinaabe People. This Treaty talks about this territory being like a bowl, and it’s a bowl where we can gather all our food from to feed our families, to nourish our Young ones, to be able to grow things, to feed ourselves and this territory overlaps among different native people. So the idea is we only have one dish, so it’s our responsibility to keep this dish clean to be able to take only what we need from Mother Earth to feed ourselves and take care of each other. And leave something for others so that they, too, can eat from the dish. So this Treaty which predates contact, it demonstrates a responsibility to share equally. I know tonight we're going to be sharing our words about some of the experiences we went through.
I also wanted to talk a little bit about Anishinaabe teaching. It’s part of our creation story, and it talks about people. They say a long time ago, Anishinaabe people, and not just Anishinaabe people, all people, they say at the beginning when the Creator started putting things in motion that we were all there. And the Creator took its hands and blew twice into its hands and formed a ball and placed it out there in the universe and it lit up our part of the universe and the big ball was the sun and provided warmth for everything close to it. Then the Creator again gathered its thoughts and blew twice into its hand again and this time it made another ball and this ball was circled around that sun and that ball was too close to that sun, to that heat to be able to support life and have life live there and flourish. So the Creator made another ball and, again, placed it out there and circled the sun a little bit further than the first one that was circling the sun. And again, it was too close. So the Creator again gathered its thoughts and made another ball, but this ball was different. It was mainly blue looking. It was mainly water. And when the Creator placed it out there, the Creator placed it just far enough where it could get cold, but also be warm enough for the heat of the sun to warm the place. And that ball is what we call Mother Earth. And then the Creator started creating life to live on that ball. And first the Creator made all the plants, made all the animals that walk on four legs and made all the ones that crawl and all the ones that could fly and the ones that could swim. And the Creator also put all the plant life all over Mother Earth in the water, on the ground, all over. And all of that creation flourished. They lived in harmony with each other. They supported each other. And if that’s all the Creator made, earth would be a beautiful place. More beautiful than it is now. But then the Creator started making people and the Creator made the people that represent those 4?? in the medicine wheel. The Creator made the people that come from that north direction in that medicine wheel, the ones that represent that white colour and placed them on their part of Mother Earth and gave them special instructions. Then the Creator placed those with the yellow colour in the medicine wheel and gave them their part of the earth and gave them special instructions. Then the Creator made those that form the black colour in the medicine wheel and gave them their special instructions. Last, the creator made those that represent the red direction and gave them special instructions and placed them right here on Turtle Island in this place here. And those people that were placed on earth are our first relatives. They were very empathetic. They had to depend on everything in order to live, just like we do. They had to depend on all of plant life to make our shelter and keep us warm. We had to depend on the animal in plant life to feed us and nourish us.
That story goes back to the beginning. All of our first relatives lived in harmony with nature and all of creation around us. I just wanted to remind you of that. And I was going to do an opening prayer and then I was going to sing a song. So I'm just going to do a prayer in the Ojibwa language and then we'll get started.
[Praying in Ojibwa]
What I said in the Ojibwa language, do you know what I said? I said we're going to have a really good time. No. What I said was I introduced myself in my Ojibwa name and I said I come from Nipising Little Nation, the place of the first water. I'm from the Martin Clan. My family comes from the Clan of that animal. I said thank you to the Creator. Thank you for all that you created. To you grandfather sun for shining down on us. Thank you to grandmother moon for shining down on us at night. Thank you Mother Earth for giving us life, for giving us food, for giving us water and for giving us the animals and for giving us the air that we breathe. I offer my tobacco. I was given tobacco earlier this evening. I'll be offering that to the north, to the east, to the south, and to the west and ask the Creator to help us.
So I'm going to sing a song, and the reason I brought my drum, I've been able to, fortunate enough to travel almost around the world and drum, and I know one time I was in South Korea and I got to do some drumming and dancing there and I got to meet people from all over the world of different cultures. And I'm very curious about the drum. I make them and when I got to meet people of different cultures from around the world, I would ask them about their drums and the original stories of where their drums came from. And one thing that dawned on me when I was there, when I was speaking to different people from different places all over the world was that all of us are human beings, no matter what part of the world we come from, the drum is one thing we have in common. And I truly believe the drum makes the Creator’s favorite music. Why else would pretty much every culture in the world have their own drum? That’s one thing we all share in common. So I'm going to sing a song to get us started in a good way and I hope we have a good consultation this evening.
(singing and drumming)
>> Ginelle: Thank you, Steve. And now I'd like to introduce Minister Mitzi Hunter, Minister of Education and Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough Guildwood.
>> Minister Hunter: Thank you very much, Janelle. And thank you, Steve, for that wonderful opening of tonight’s meeting. Good Evening, everyone. Good evening, everyone.
>> Audience: Good Evening!
>>Minister Hunter: It’s really awesome to see everyone here gathered for this incredibly important meeting, and I know Steve has already acknowledged that we're having this meeting on the Indigenous lands of the people of Turtle Island and all of the various groups that have held custodians of this land, and I just want to thank him for doing that. So bonjour, hello, and I am really honoured on behalf of our Premier, the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, and my colleagues to have the opportunity to welcome you to this meeting in Scarborough of the Anti‑Racism Directorate. This is an incredible initiative?? by the Premier and it was launched as part of our budget. And one of the first things that our Minister did was commit to these consultations so that he could hear from you and hear your voices as the work of the Directorate begins to take hold and to do this right across the province. So I want you to know that we're here tonight to listen to you. This is our Scarborough meeting. And I know Scarborough people are not shy people, that you're going to speak to us and tell us what’s on your mind and we're here to listen to you. I want you guys to really look around the room and to really see the range of people that are here from all parts of our community. And I want to thank you for taking time out of your evening when you could really be elsewhere. You could be at home. You could be with your families. You could be doing any other thing, but you chose tonight to come here and to have a conversation with us, and I truly am respectful of that. I know all my colleagues are, so I want to welcome you to this meeting and with that, I'm going to invite The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and the Minister Responsible for the Anti‑Racism Directorate to start tonight’s proceedings. Welcome, Michael. Let’s welcome him.
>> Minister Coteau: Thank you. Well, thank you, Mitzi. And I'd like to also thank Steve for his prayer and welcome everyone here to the Traditional Territory of the Mississauga, the New Credit, and also give thanks to the Indigenous community here in the Province of Ontario and their long history.
I wanted to start by thanking our facilitator tonight. Thank you so much for being here. We appreciate it. Let’s given her a big round of applause. Thank you, Janelle.
>> And I just wanted to recognize a few of my colleagues from the legislature. We have David Orazietti. David, you want to stand up and say hello? David is the Minister of Correctional Services and Community Safety.
We have Yasir Naqvi, the Attorney General of Ontario, and Mitzi Hunter who you just met. Thank you for being here. And I also know that Sue Wong is on her way and she'll be here. We're actually in Scarborough Agincourt , so thank you to Sue for having us today.
I wanted to recognize also the Secretary of Cabinet, Steve Orsini who is here today. Steve is responsible for the entire public service.
And thank you for being here today. Stephen Davidson is joining him just to his left and he’s the Deputy Minister responsible for this file. And of course Sam I'll introduce later. He is the ADM for the Anti‑Racism Directorate. Sam?
I just also wanted to recognize Trustee David Smith, who is in the audience here. I think he’s the only other elected politician who is with us tonight. Am I wrong? So David Smith, thank you for your advocacy on behalf of the community and thank you for being here. David is a long‑time Trustee of the Toronto District School Board and of course very interested in issues around systemic racism, and just behind him is Lloyd McKell, who I'll have to introduce, because he’s done a lot of the work around systemic racism as a former Senior Executive Officer at the Toronto district school board. Thanks for being here, Lloyd.
We've had four meetings so far. We started off in Toronto. We went off to Hamilton, Mississauga, and now here in Scarborough. And, next Saturday I'm in Sudbury and then London. We're in Thunder Bay, Windsor, Ottawa, and Kitchener Waterloo. So we're going right across the province to talk about systemic racism and to talk about the Anti‑Racism Directorate. And you know, what we're really trying to do here is to listen to people, get feedback on the way this Directorate should be structured and its mandate. And it’s been a very interesting conversation so far, but I can say without any question that one of the big things that constantly comes up is, you know, why are you just ‑‑ why don't I just get on with the work? And it’s a repetitive theme, and you know, my response is I completely understand where people are coming from. Racism has been here for as long as we can remember. We know what we should be doing, but I think it would be irresponsible for me and for the government to move forward without a full consultation process. And I just also noticed Donna Kwan, former Director of Education, so I just wanted to recognize her as well.
But I think these conversations are very important and I know we're finishing off in December, but these conversations are important, because they allow us to capture ideas, and there are a lot of ideas that are coming forward. You know, we know that we're going to collect disaggregated data. We're going to collect race‑based data. We just don't know exactly where the primary focus should be at this point, because I think identifying some big wins for us and things that we should do right away and they should be our primary focus.
Last week I was at a conference with people who are part of the Children’s Aid Societies, and I did say that I will be mandating Children’s Aid Societies across the province to start collecting race‑based data here in the Province of Ontario.
And I'll just take one more minute just to say that, you believe, I've been able to see change happen firsthand at the Toronto District School Board, the trustees mandated the Board to start collecting data, and it was a very interesting exercise, because we went through a debate. We won by one vote. The debate I think lasted for a few sessions. It took a lot of work, and Lloyd knows this and Donna Kwan knows this. It took a lot of work and a lot of money to get it right, and we kept fine‑tuning it. And when you start to collect data and you start to collect that type of information, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with it. You have to know how to release that data properly. You have to know how to work with community partners to get the right type of information. But we saw a shift take place in the Toronto District School Board when it came to programming through the learning opportunity index, nutrition programs. Based on the data, we know that based on the data, we know when we collect good data and we actual apply it properly, we can actually make change in society.
So we will also be running an awareness campaign and educational campaign, and Sam is going to bring everyone through that before we open up for comments. And we have a few other pieces that we'll be moving forward with. And I hope that after the Assistant Deputy Minister, Sam Erry, presents what we're doing, we can hear some feedback about the approach, but also take it as an opportunity to talk about really anything you want to talk about when it comes to systemic racism here in the Province of Ontario and how the government can make changes to make Ontario a place of even more opportunity for everyone, regardless of their religion, their colour, their place of origin.
So I'll stop there and just say thank you for being here. Sue Wong is here now. We are in Scarborough Agincourt, so thank you for having us. Are we in Scarborough? [indiscernible] river? I represent north Iroquois. But thank you very much. And at this moment, I will welcome Sam Erry to the stage. Thank you so much.
>> Sam: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here. I have to tell you I've been with the Minister pretty well at all the meetings and today is a very special night. It’s not my birthday, but I grew up right at that corner of Markham and Sheppard. So this is a homecoming for me. I was part of the first graduating class at Pearson and I can tell you between Markham and Shepherd and the zoo, it was all bush. So it is just really nice to be back here, and I do live in that town. You may have heard it just now. It’s called Markham, which is just past Steele’s there, so thank you for being here.
As several ministers have indicated, today is really about listening and to have your voice here in this room, so I'll just take a few minutes to give you a quick ride through some of the things that we're going to be doing at the Directorate, and obviously, these consultations are going to help inform the priorities and the tactics and the kinds of things that we need to get traction on. What I'm not going to be good at tonight is flipping these sides, so forgive me? I've put the slide up, because the reality is whether it’s in society or elsewhere, people are not actually clear about the different forms of racism. Often, if you talk to people and you have conversations with them, it’s usually about the individual racism they encounter, but the reality is there are several other forms of racism. There’s cultural to societal, and the top right hand box is where I want to draw your attention to. The focus of the Directorate is going to be primarily in institutional racism. If you solve the problem upstream, you can solve it all the way down, and when you're looking at the institutional barriers in place, which are significant, because they piled up over time, those are the things that we need to tackle in order to achieve racial equity at the end of the day.
>> Sam: Okay. Here in addition to the definition of system racism, I think the critical point is that anti‑racism should be everybody’s business. Anti‑racism is not just the business of the Anti‑Racism Directorate. If we're going to achieve equity in society, government obviously plays a very critical role in terms of driving that change and setting policy and, you know, looking at how we can remove some of the systemic barriers, but clearly communities have a role to play. Parents have a role to play and businesses have a very, very important role to play.
As many of you know, when you look at the root cause of many of the issues, it’s really about economic disempowerment. It’s really about not having a strong economic base, a job, and all those things that, you know, we would want all of our systems to have. So that’s really the punchline here in this slide.
And I think this is an important point to make at this point in the conversation. I would respectfully ask you not to think that we're starting from scratch. When you look at those reports, that’s an enormous amount of investment, community consultations, experts in the field that have opined and provided very, very strong and serious recommendations. So our starting point is exactly from the hard recommendations that are in these reports, and most recently, of course, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the government’s journey together in response to that in terms of Indigenous communities. So we are going to be very, very focused and grounded in the work that has already been put out there, and our job is going to be to prioritize that work, as the Minister said, and drive it out and get material change.
The Directorate, these are some high level objectives, but I think at the end of the day it’s really racial equity that we need to get to. And in order to do that, we need to define what our priorities?? are going to be in racial equity. When you peel the onion back, what are the determinants of racial equity? Whether it’s in healthcare, in education, in the human services sector. So we need to focus on what those outcomes are that we need to get to and how do we get to those outcomes? What’s the most expedient process to get us to those outcomes? We can't be mired in process. This conversation cannot be about process. It has to be about results.
Okay. I believe this is my last slide. These are the four areas that we're going to generally focus on. This is not meant to be exhaustive, but to give you a sense of where we're going to start drilling down, and all of this is informed by those reports that we noted earlier. So the big area is going to be in terms of policy and research. You know, whether it’s anti‑racism or other sectors or other fields, we need to have an evidence‑based conversation. And the Minister alluded earlier to data. We do not have very many sectors in society today that collect disaggregated race based data. The TDSB had starred this conversation a while back, and I think it’s only the Toronto Children’s Aid Society that collects the data. So one of the most important things is to introduce a disaggregated race based data collection framework and then push that out into all the sectors so that everyone is collecting that data using very similar parameters so that at the end of the day when we get that data, it’s not polluted. It’s clean. And it’s going to make sense. It’s an apples to apples conversation versus all kinds of different fruits and vegetables, if I can stick to that metaphor.
The other thing is, you know, how do you influence policy? How do you influence change in a large organization, in a big bureaucracy with multiple delivery entities? And we know from our experience in the United States, some very progressive jurisdictions in the United States such as King County and Seattle, the City of Seattle, the City of Portland who have already gone before us in terms of bringing in anti‑racism tools and perspectives. So we're going to look at those and then adopt them into an Ontario context. And the whole idea is to take those frameworks and put them in place before we develop policy, before we develop programs, before we develop services so that any of the unintended, unintentional consequences and barriers for racialized and Indigenous people are caught up front. In fact, they don't even flow into the exercise.
The other piece, of course, and I don't think it’s any big secret to anybody, the public sector traditionally, you know, does not have anti-racism competencies. We have people that are experts in diversity. We have people that are experts in policy and program delivery, program design and so forth, but we do not have experts in anti‑racism. That’s why some of you may have seen, part of our HR strategy was to recruit that expertise from the community. So I will likely be the only one that doesn't have that hard core anti‑racism expertise. The rest of the organization will be populated with people who are deep experts in the area, who understand the issues from a sector perspective and can work with us and everybody else in the organization. So training and all of those good things are going to be part of what we do.
The second pillar is really about public education and awareness, so that’s a very important thing we have to do. Again, we're going to do a lot of market research to figure out, what is the best way to do that? We have an unbelievably bright and energetic youth population in the province. You know, what is the best way to have conversations with youth and how do we design things that are going to make sense to the younger people in our province? And all age groups, frankly. But again, we'll do it from a very informed perspective.
Community collaboration. I want to be very sincere and public on this point. We're not going to go anywhere unless we involve the anti‑racism community in the work that we do. So this is not about, you know, hiding in some deep bureaucracy and then pushing out a bunch of stuff that, frankly, it isn't going to resonate with anybody. So when you look at a combination of the reports that are there, the findings that are there, and then create a respectful, inclusive engagement process where we truly engage people, and not just invite them for a meeting, and as we push these products out, have the benefit of that input and that engagement so that when it does land, it’s going to make a difference for people. It’s going to be meaningful.
The last piece is sustainable governance, and I think that’s something that we're hearing. It’s a very common theme that, you know, the Directorate is doing foundational work, so it’s very important that it is allowed to continue to do that foundational work, because racial equity, unfortunately, is going to be a long journey. We'll do our best to drive as hard as we can to that, but it does take time, as you know. So we're going to do a lot of foundational work to make sure that that work continues and we can continue to grow and develop our anti‑racism competencies inside the organization and also continue to work with the community.
So that’s a quick flavor for you, because the purpose tonight is really to listen to what you have to say. Here are a series of core questions for you to think about. I'm sure you're here with your own questions and your perspectives, but this is just to help frame the conversation today. The answers to some of these will help us as we continue and build our work. So I'll turn it over to the moderator. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Just had to get my cell phone. We can't go anywhere without these things these days and it’s going to help me keep on time. I just want to acknowledge Mr. Alvin Curling is here.
Ginelle: Welcome. There you are.
Ginelle: So as has been said, this is your turn. We're here to hear from you today. And so the evening really has two parts. First, you heard from the ministers and you heard secondly from the Anti‑Racism Directorate, and now we're turning to you for this discussion. And as was just said, the questions on the screen are to guide you and we invite you to come up and speak.
There are microphones located at the base here and you will be assisted by some young people in red shirts who I don't see right now, who are our youth ambassadors from the Toronto Youth Cabinet. And they can assist you with asking your questions.
So before we get started, I want to go over the rules of engagement and a few housekeeping comments. The meeting is being live streamed and recorded and it may be publicly made available after today’s session. So joining the meeting means you understand and consent to this. There are French and American Sign Language translations available for this meeting and headsets for those who require it. So bathrooms are located just outside the doors here and down the stairs. Accessible wash rooms are located on the other side of the lobby and there should be signs to direct you to those. There are also light refreshments located just outside in the lounge area.
And now for the part we've all been waiting for. We have a lot of items to get through and in the interest of hearing from as many of you as possible, we're going to ask that you keep your comments to about two minutes. So I am going to be monitoring that and keeping track, and with the help of our tech folks at the back, there will be a gentle chime sound to let you know that two minutes is up. So are you with me? Are you with me? Please be with me on that. Okay.
So you should have received comment cards, and they look like this. So all of you should have received those coming in. And you are welcome to use those to guide your feedback this evening or to write something and leave it with us if you have something more fulsome to say than the two minutes will allow.
Okay. If you do not get a chance to speak on the mic, you can fill out the cards or you can go to the website, anti‑racism@Ontario.ca, and feedback will be taken up until December. Almost through the housekeeping. Another announcement is that if you have taken the TTC here tonight, a token will be available on a first come first served basis at the registration desk.
If there are no questions, we'll move into our discussion. Any questions?
>>Audience Member: We didn't hear you. We didn't hear what I just said.
>> Ginelle: Oh, I said that if you took the TTC here, there is one token available for you at the registration desk. Okay. Any other questions? Okay. So then we'll get started. We'll go to this microphone here first. Yes.
>> Audience Member: Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen, and all the representatives from The Ontario liberals. I really congratulate and appreciate everyone for taking this great initiative for the communities, for anti‑racism.
So I got this paper on the entrance, but I have hundreds of papers like this sitting in my Office This is the turban which is part of my dress. My dress is not complete without my turban. So the rights, the respect of the turban which my Sikhs are enjoying in Vancouver, in Manitoba, United Kingdom, and 28 states of the United States, but unfortunately, The Ontario roads are not safe for the full turban, for the helmet exemption from the unshorn hair Sikh riders. So if we can go in World War I, World War II with this turban, we fought for Canada, we are representing U.S. Army while the roads are unsafe for Ontario for the Sikh riders. Premier Honorable Kathleen Wynne she promised the Sikh community on all the private functions in downtown Toronto that this will be done in 90 days, but unfortunately, the elections are way past 90 days and still we are begging. We are asking for this right. The promise is I am Liberal. I was Liberal. But this time I am thinking of what should I do? Because if I am not protected, my turban is not protected.
In Ontario assembly, the motion for the [indiscernible] 1984, that also was denied by The Ontario liberals. 1984, the capital of India, New Delhi, and other states of India, six were killed. It was a genocide. Everyone knows. The whole globe knows, but still, Ontario liberals said no to this. So these are the major two things which I would like the whole sitting Ministry of Ontario liberals to please talk to Kathleen Winn about what’s happening.
>> Thank you.
>>Audience Member: She doesn't listen to anyone.
>> Ginelle: Thank you, sir.
>> Audience Member: So thanks, everyone, for showing up today. I think this will be done very soon. Thanks, everyone. Good night, guys. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Okay. We'll go to the next mic down here.
>> Audience Member: Ne‑how. That’s what I say in Chinese. We will all be good together. (name and identifying information removed)
Audience Member: Your questions, I want to answer number five first. Ten years into the future, I want to see my children, my grandchildren study side by side with any other children of colour together to excel to all get the Nobel Prize. Not just the three Americans who just got the prize. They're all white. And 10 years from now, I'd like to see that the average University admission will be my grandchildren and your grandchildren together. So my grandchildren is the United Nations. When I showed that picture to Matt Calloway, he said this is a Canadian family.
Audience Member: So how should the government continue to engage? Thank you, minister Coteau. Thank you, Minister Mitzi and Donna Kwan. I think I met you before. I want the Board of Education, take that responsibility to encourage mingling.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much for your comments. Thank you.
>> Audience Member: Thank you. Bye‑bye.
>> Ginelle: Over here?
>> Audience Member: The mic is not on.
>> Ginelle: Do you want to just go over and use the other mic, sir?
>> Audience Member: Okay (name removed) Now, before I go any further, I just want to thank one organization and one organization only. That is Black Lives Matter Toronto.
Audience Member: It is because of the work that they did occupying the police station is the reason why we're here today. So I don't see any of the executives here, but permit me to say thank you.
Audience Member: (name removed) I'm from the Toronto and York strict labor council. We represent 205,000 workers that live and work in the Greater Toronto area, and our members have a history with the anti‑racism directorate of the past and the involvement with the Secretariat of the past as well.
So many of you when you came in, you received a copy of our written submission and for the Directorate you would receive it in an e‑mail as well. Our submission, it covers a numerous amount of topics, including education, economy, the criminal justice and mass incarceration, and more. And given that we have the provincial Minister of Correctional Services with us, I just want to highlight just a couple of things here. I want to talk to you today, brothers and sisters, about mass incarceration. Specifically, mass incarceration of black and brown people. Recently, the Office of correctional Investigators unveiled in Parliament its Annual Report for the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year and what the Report reveals is that overall African‑Canadians are the fastest growing inmate population in Canada’s federal prisons. The report goes on to state that from 2005 to 2015, the African‑Canadian inmate population grew by 69% while the inmate population of Indigenous people and women grew by another 50%.
The Report further speaks to the federal incarceration rate of African‑Canadians being three times their representative in society. Now, included in these numbers are hundreds of families held in immigration detention centers. These are individuals who are without status in Canada and they are held indefinitely while awaiting deportation. Now, this is a federal matter. However, the provincial contribution to this is that these people are being held in provincial jails, and when you take into consideration that they're from countries that primarily have black and brown populations, we have a problem.
>>Ginelle: Sir, I didn't hear the chime, but my trusty phone tells me that you need to wrap up.
>>Audience Member: Okay. I'll begin to wrap it up.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: But lack of status in Canada by itself does not make somebody a danger to the general public and those individuals should not be in a federal jail.
>> Audience Member: The last thing I want to touch on, because I don't want to take up too much time, is that at the Regent Park meeting we spoke briefly about the budget of this Directorate. And that budget was a modest $5 million. And some loose calculations show that by the time we finished these meetings, the resources will dry up before the work has started. No, go ahead.
Audience Member: So I encourage you, ministers, to go back to the drawing table and come up with a budget that will allow the Directorate to do the work that Ontarians want done. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Ginelle: I think this mic is working again, but we'll go over here and back to this.
>> Audience Member: Just as a point of order, that chime is a timer, but to maintain the chime for people with sensory issues, it’s frustrating. So if you're just doing it just to acknowledge it, but not to run it while people are speaking, it’s both disrespectful and causes sensory issues.
>> Ginelle: Noted. Okay.
>> Audience Member: If you could ask the person doing that. Thank you.
Audience Member: >> Minister Coteau, I need your assistance, please, because the other night you were in Mississauga, was it? You said some distinctive points. You said that what can we do? We can hold institutions accountable. You said, we can shine a light and show transparency. We can shame people that make those wrong decisions. And you said, we can enforce a system that doesn't tolerate any form of racism, because we're taxpayers. We're citizens. We're people who live in this jurisdiction. We're people who make this province great. And we need to be respected. I need your assistance, please. Come on over here. I need your assistance please. Come over here. You said about participation and you need the community relations. I need you to come on over here.
>> Audience Member: If you're truly practicing what you're preaching I need your assistance to collaborate with the community, because a statement that you made, yeah, you were here, so I need your help. Are you demonstrating that you are willing to help or no?
>>Minister Coteau: I'm here to listen.
>> Audience Member: Yeah. And I need your help and that participation is this. So Mr. Coteau, you're now giving me a demonstration of what you either believe or you don't believe. You made a comment that President Obama made ‑‑ what do you call these cards? Thank you. Made cue cards and you thought that that was a great idea. So we created for you a progress card. I'd like to you come and I need your assistance, please. You know this, delay, you never want to demonstrate that you're not willing to participate with the community, because you, yourself, said that that’s essential. You can stand, but just so everybody can see. This is, it says The Ontario anti‑racism directorate progress card. These are 35 solutions that we offered you in July. No response. The issue was offered both on Twitter, in e‑mail, and constantly I kept contacting the directorate. All that information is there. I'm not here to embarrass you, sir. What I'm here to do is to ensure that you're act okay what your words are to the public and that you're demonstrating that fully so that we can believe you. Because racism in Canada, racism in Ontario has gone on too long. And we're no longer going to tolerate it.
Audience Member: No, no. The whole thing is for you. Hang on one second. There are five cards here. What I'm asking you to do is to ensure that your members of parliament get a copy of these cards, because what it does is highlights all the issues that we raise to you thus far. This directorate started in February. We're now going into nine months and we're wondering, what is going on? What is happening? What is taking place? So I would ask if you haven't read it since we gave it to you in July to read them now. And there are boxes that you can check off as these issues are actually addressed, and we want you to publicly post it on the website and on your site, on the anti‑racism directorate and on your own site, because we say you tell us to hold you accountable. This is exactly what this is. We've made best efforts to reach you and have not been able to. What we want this government to be able to do is to speak plainly.
>> Unknown: If I may ‑‑
>>Audience Member: If we're talking about anti‑racism, we want those words used. Anti‑white supremacy. Let’s get to the heart of the issue. It’s anti‑white supremacy. It’s anti‑colonialism. These are the truth what have we're talking about. Let’s not tiptoe around these issues. Let’s make sure that these are addressed properly.
>> Audience Member: There you go.
>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. And let’s go to the next mic here.
>> Audience Member : Good Evening. Test. Good Evening, ministers and MPPs. (name removed) [indiscernible] I am (identifying information removed) with the Ontario Federation of Labor. For the benefit of the room, we're an organization that represents over 1 million workers in this province.
Audience Member: And we also represent nonunionized workers. We advocate on behalf of nonunionized workers and we stand up when we see social injustice. Many of you may have received a document as you walked in from the Colour of Poverty. There are 11 recommendations on that sheet. I'm not going to go through every single one with you, but I just want to let you know that the Ontario Federation of Labor fully endorses and supports those 11 recommendations, and I know that you guys already have that.
The Anti‑Racism Directorate must have a framework of action and of action providing a comprehensive approach that will challenge individual and systemic and cultural racism in all its forms. Data collect and producing yet more studies and stats and collecting a lot of this data must not be the only thing that this Directorate focuses on. We're a little bit weary. Community groups, community organizations, trade unionists, we're a little bit weary of yet another stack of data that’s going to be collected and put on a self‑somewhere just to collect dust.
The Directorate’s role is to fight the systemic racism and create and implement an Anti-Racism Strategy with enforceable solutions. In short, that means we need to see action. We know that there’s ‑‑ that is very annoying. I just want to say that. I know the speaker before me mentioned it, but it’s really sensitive to my ears, so I'm hoping that maybe the moderator can cut me off.
>> Ginelle: That wasn't the chime. I don't know what that was. But go ahead. The chime is much more gentle.
>>Audience Member: Okay. So we are eager to see the Anti‑Racism Directorate immediately move on the following items. We have some short‑term goals and we have long‑term goals. In the short‑term, and I know you put it up on a slide, we want to see specific public education and awareness campaigns around Anti‑Indigenous, Anti‑Black, Anti-Semitism, racism, on Islamophobia, xenophobia, but we want to see that immediately. We don't need for wait for two or three years of stats and looking at data. We can start that today and I'm hoping within the first few months that that can happen.
>> Ginelle: Okay. You have to wrap up now. Please.
>>Audience Member: Just give me another minute. Just one more minute. We are looking to establish an Anti-Racism Advisory Council composed of community and labor representatives. The Council’s mandate would be to advise the government and consult with racialized communities and community groups. In the longer‑term we're looking to raise employment standards. Racialized individuals are able to obtain much more, are likely to have temporary contracts part-time low wages. And in fact, racialized Canadians are over‑represented in a range of traditionally low wage and low paid job services, just like call centers, security services, janitorial services, so we're looking at the Ontario government to sort of use another avenue as well. You have the Changing Workplace Review happening right now. We're hoping that you can work in collaboration with the Changing Workplace Review so that we can elevate the status of racialized workers in this province.
>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. I'm just going to ask you to stop there, please, because we want to give everyone a chance to come up.
>> Audience Member: Okay.
>> Ginelle: And you can submit your comments online or in writing.
>> Audience Member: Can you give me 30 seconds
>>Ginelle: I've already given you more time.
>>Audience Member: I promise to wrap it up. We're wasting time. 30 more seconds. I promise. I was cut off in the middle. It threw me off. 30 more seconds and I'm off. I just want to answer the last question, what I want to see in 10 years. In 10 years I want to see carding and racial profiling eliminated. I know that Minister Naqvi, you spoke at a previous meeting and you were patting your government on the back for regulating carding, but that’s not a solution. Carding must be eliminated. The whole issue with carding is that Black and Brown men were being stopped at higher frequencies than the general population. So now that you've regulated it, the police just have to inform the person that they're stopping that it’s optional for them to provide information. However, ‑‑
>> Ginelle: I really need you to stop now.
>> Audience Member: Absolutely.
>> Ginelle: And I thank you for your comments, but please.
>> Audience Member: It needs to be eliminated. That’s all I'm saying. It needs to be eliminated.
>>Ginelle: Thank you so much. Thank you. Okay. Next?
>> Audience Member: Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am so glad to see so many people coming for this and obviously because you guys have a heavy and concerned heart. In my opinion, from what I see about racism, I find there’s an imbalance of respect toward each other. So it comes from education, yes, but it also comes from your heart. You know, sometimes when people give respect, the other person women want to take more, and that is not right either. So you need to have a balance. Okay? So the way from where I see it is this. The Ontario government can do whatever they want but if we don't take it to heart and practice what has been preached, everything will be pointless and a waste of money. So please, I hope ‑‑ I'm not siding with the government, I tell you right now, but I know racism and I've been in Canada for more than 35 years. So I know what racism is about.
On a lighter and more serious note, I'm waiting for Merry Christmas to come back and not Happy Holidays replacing it. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Okay. To this microphone.
>> Audience Member: Good Evening, everyone. I am also a ( name and identifying information removed) member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and I'm wearing that hat here tonight. If you could give me a little leeway, we represent over 4 million unionized workers, but we represent millions and millions of workers right across this country, and I just want to give the union people here tonight kudos, because a lot of times when we do things, people think it’s only in the interest of our members. We do things in the interest of the entire community.
So I'm not going to go over what my two brothers have already talked about I do want to say that the Canadian labor Commerce and the Black Trade Unionists fully endorse the recommendations of the Colour of Poverty. I also want to say that, as my brother already said, I'm getting older, so I need my spectacles. As my brother talked about, we are here because Black Lives Matter decided to do a sit in and we have the utmost respect for the work that they continue to do, because what you don't see, you see the stuff on the media. What you don't see is pushing to make all Black Lives Matter.
Audience Member: I'm trying not to repeat what my brothers have said, but we really want to make sure that the Anti‑Racism Directorate, the office can withstand changes of government. So people have talked about that. Oftentimes what happens is government falls and whatever Directorate, whatever organization, whatever they actually put in place goes with the government. We want to make sure that whatever we put in place is able to withstand changes of government. We also want to make sure that it includes the advisory, includes representation from both labor and community. Our brother talked about the importance of strategy that combats racism and inter-sectionality, a strategy that combats anti‑Black racism, homophobia, all other types of racism, but we also want legislative reform that provides justice to those who wrongfully fall victim to government sanctioned police violence. And we have already gone into mass incarceration and I'm not going to touch that, because we all know that it exists.
We also want a development of an Anti-Racism Strategy that addresses the over‑representation of Black and Indigenous children within the Children’s Aid Society.
We want a development of a legislative mandate to return public sector employment equity in Toronto, in Ontario.
Audience Member: And an Anti-Racism Strategy to substantially reduce the high school dropout rate of racialized folks.
Audience Member: An Anti-Racism Strategy that provides both job training and apprenticeship programs to communities designated at risk. A legislative mandate that provides an appropriate budget for the anti‑racism directorate to fulfill its mandate. (name removed) We already talked about the fact that the $5 million is going to finish by the time we get over these meetings, so we need to see that budgetary item and where that extra money is going to and what that’s going to include.
>> Ginelle: 30 seconds.
>> Audience Member: Thank you. The list that I've mentioned, as well as the other two brothers have mentioned, is an inclusive list and it’s not exhaustive, because we know that there are many other things that we need to address. In the past decade, organized labor has undertaken extensive anti‑racism human rights work. Anti‑racism activists and the labor and social justice movements and our communities have displayed incredible energy and commitment in keeping the equity agenda live. Many have argued that both racism and misogyny are woven into the fabric of Canadian society and no organization is free of it. As the voice of Black unionized labor, we recognize there is still much work ahead of us on this issue. However, anti‑racist human rights work are now principles embedded in many of our coalition partners and we are asking to make sure that it’s embedded in the policies with real specific objectives and measurable targets built into the mandate of an Anti-Racism Secretariat.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Ginelle: To the next microphone?
>> Ginelle: Can't hear you. Try again. Can we give her that one? Yes.
>> Audience Member: Thank you. Good Evening. And good evening to the ministers that are here, and I'm so happy the AG is here, because I had planned to give him a call sometime in the near future.
>> Audience Member: He’s married.
>> Audience Member: No, not that kind of call. (name removed) What I can't understand is our government goes to other people’s country and dismantled their government, but they will not dismantle this slave system here. And we are tired of it.
Audience Member: You know, since the Honourable Calvin Curling stat in Parliament, nothing has been done to our needs. Right now, I am here, because I am in this justice system, the accident benefit, and I'm telling you, black people, they are ‑‑ the insurers are predators. They prey on them. And right now there are doctors in the insurers. Their lawyers are all working together. And I have been fighting for the past 11 years and snob doing anything. I came here for the premier and I expect something to be done with my case, because they send it to the fiscal people that are in bed with the insurers, and I sent the that’s right they sent me, because I'm not accepting it. I am here. (potentially identifying information removed) And I am asking the Minister, Honourable Wynne, to do something about it. And I'm leaving this package, because when I correspond with the minister through Twitter this week, I want to hear something about it. And I'm not going to stop. You know what? I planning to go down to Queen’s park, because something has to be done. They have treated us so horribly. They forget that we are people. We are human. They think we are other. And I'm sick of it.
>> Unidentified: Okay.
>> Audience Member: And Mr. AG, I will be paying you a visit sometime. Thank you very much.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Our next speaker?
>> Audience Member: For those who understand what that means, it means peace be upon you all. Very quick and to the point, I remember as a child when I was coming to this country, I looked to my right. my older brother was dead and I looked to my left and my younger brother was dead as well. And the person who was bringing me to Canada, he told me we were going to the land, the promised land. There’s no discrimination, where everyone is equal, everyone is treated equally. Boy, were they wrong.
Now, we came here, we came to this country. (name removed) We came to this country and we faced three different obstacles. One, being black. By itself, it became a crime. Two, being a Muslim. By looking at me, you think I'm carrying a bomb under my outfit. And being an immigrant.
Now, as a Somali community, we came here late nineties with nothing. We were able to get together and try to do something for our community. Until today, we have 165 Somali kids being killed and not even 3% of that is resolved because they're black, they're Muslim, and they're immigrant. Police do not care about what happens to us. We got together and we said, let us do something for our children, youth and children, and we purchased a place, and that place, it became victimized by systemic racism that you're talking about and this is a place called the Shakina Foundation. This is where we used to shelter our children from being gang numbers, from being killed, from being involved in drugs, and now they shut us down because of things that I'm sure if someone else or any other community did it would not be a crime. So we need help of the Minister to reopen our centre so we can save our children, our youth, and not be victimized by systematic racism. Thank you very much.
>> Ginelle: Thank you for sharing.
>> Hello. Good Evening, everyone. (name and potentially identifying information removed).
I just want to say as‑salamu‑alaikum and Shalom and to our hosts, the Chinese Cultural Centre here. Me‑how. Sorry for the mispronunciation. I'm doing my best.
(potentially identifying information removed)
Our goal (the Black Unity Committee, reference included to add clarity), I like big goals and some people say that’s an impossible dream. How can you ever unite the black community? People talk about this black community as if there is one. I challenge that notion. I don't think we have a black community. Otherwise, we would have a beautiful building like this one somewhere in the GTA. Where is it? Where is it?
We have Mr. Alvin Curling, all due respect to him, he’s a nice person, he has a nice smile, he photographs very well, but what has he done? Not just him, but all of these so‑called black leaders, how come they never came together and thought, hey, maybe we should have a cultural centre for Black people? We have it for the Chinese. We have it for the Japanese. We have it for the Jews. We have it for the Italians I can't understand. We have it for the Greeks. We have it for the Koreans, many of whom came after Black people. We've been here quite a while and correct we don't have a cultural centre like this. No disrespect. I like it. It’s beautiful. And I take my hat off to the Chinese community, because they seem to be a lot more unified than Black people, and I'm saying that straight.
We have some PhDs among us. We have some very intellectual people among the Black community. But few of them have ever got together to decide to build something beautiful like this. They've had lots of time and they haven't done it.
>>Ginelle: Your two minutes have passed. You have to wrap it up.
>> Audience Member: I just wanted to say that I agree with that young man who said that this is a bit offensive that they want to decrease systematic racism. Do we want to decrease it, folks, or do we want to eliminate it? Okay. Thank you. That’s my thought.
Now, the ministers, I have to say I respect you personally, but as a group, you have failed to show that you really are serious about this issue.
When you show up half an hour after it was supposed to start at 7:00, many of us were here early, I rushed here to be here on time, because it’s important to me. But apparently it’s not important to you, because you show up whenever you feel like it and we all have to wait here until you finally arrive and then we can get started and then you say you want to listen. You wait until after 8:00 o'clock. Now you're starting to listen to us. Shame on you.
Having said that, I do respect Mr. Yasir Naqvi, because about a year ago I got into some very intense discussions. We had a public meeting like this.
>> Ginelle: Sir, you're really over time now.
>> Audience Member: And he did make a commitment that the province is going to end carding. Okay? So I commend for you that. At least you're a man of your word. You did what you said you were going to do.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. I'm going to have to ask you to wrap up.
>>Audience Member: Mitzi had us believe in her opening remarks that this is all Catherine Winn’s CAD Wynne’s idea. She just woke up one morning and said, let’s have an anti‑racism Directorate. That’s false. And I think you should apologize for giving the impression that this is The Ontario government’s idea. It was Black Lives Matter. It was the Black Unity Committee, (remove identifying information) that put pressure on Ms. Wynne. They camped out in front of her house. Remember that? It was in the media. That’s when she decided to do something. She was pushed into it. She didn't want to do it, but she had no choice, because a lot of pressure was put on her.
>> Ginelle: I just want to say that I have to thank you for your comments and so anyone else coming up, I'm just inviting you to get right to the point, to the crux of the matter, because it seems that you get heated and into the passion and I have to say, we have a long line of people that I'm trying to get up to the mic. So it’s not that I don't want to hear from you or that we don't want to hear from you, I should say, but we do want to be considerate of everyone having a chance to say a few words. Get to the point, please. Thank you.
>> Thank you. (identifying information removed) The Toronto and York Region Labour Council, (name of organization included to add clarity) represents 205,000 women and men that work in every sector of our economy. People who have come to this country, as my parents did, from every part of this world and people, many of whom understand systemic racism and the reality of their daily lives.
In the submission that’s in front of you tonight from the Labor Council, it was drawn from the wisdom of our members that work in all kinds of areas. So when ( name and title removed to add clarity) talks about the issues of criminal justice and mass incarceration, yes, we have members that work within that system. Social workers and others. But we also have many members whose children are caught in that system.
When we had a convention some years ago, we had three women from one union,the Hotel Workers Union. One after another got up and talked about a family member who had been a victim of gun violence We talk in this submission about the education system, because our members are teachers and education workers, but they're also parents. And 10 years ago, Minister Coteau remembers when our Labor Council drawn from teachers and parents created an equity agenda for the Toronto School Board. And I'll always remember bringing it to you, Minister, and you were very supportive of all of those recommendations, and we sat down with the Chair, the late chair, Shelagh Ward, and she said this is a wonderful document. I don't have the money to make it real. And I think one of the things that you've heard from ourselves and others is that we need to make sure that the anti‑racism directorate has the money to make it real. We need to make sure that when we change systems in our schools that the dropout rate of children of African descent, the Indigenous children is not the kind of dropout rate it is today, and we have to challenge the systems that have denied those people the ability to progress. When we look at the economy, we have to say why is employment equity not back as a cornerstone of the economy in this province?
Because we know too many people that don't get a fair shot at prosperity, and we are partnering with your government in the Community Benefits Network to try and create a groundbreaking area that the construction work along Edmonton will have a large percentage of young people getting their trade and apprentices and other occupations coming from nervous communities as a matter of course. We want that to become the normal intersection.
>> Unidentified: Finally, good.
>> Audience Member: Finally, intersection. The people in this room understand what discrimination looks like and feels like, because nobody, as you know, is one dimensional. And it’s important that your government and all parties there and all people making decisions in every element of the public sector commit themselves to deep reaching effort, a long journey that’s been going on for many, many years and has to go on many years from now. Thank you.
Ginelle: Thank you. Just a quick scan of the room and a look at my clock and I think that we have to end the speakers list with those who are currently standing. Okay. So we would like to keep our comments, please, to two minutes. Please try to get to the point, and can we have this mic over here? Speaker at this mic?
>> Audience Member: Hi. (name removed )I'm from south Asia [indiscernible] and we are coming from the community’s totally poor, marginalized. Every single time we face the racism, and the racism is a systemic barrier for us. And when the government wants to change the systemic problem of racism, we are very happy, but my question is, like, how this racism, Anti‑Racism Policy is going to be imposed? Because racism creates poverty. Racism creates division. Racism creates especially pushing us in the margin, out of margin. So this system is going to be imposed to the other system? We don't mind that it should be a document and there is still work there. We want the implementation, because lots of policy isn't here, but is this policy going to implement? Who are the authority of this thing to impose these things? Who is going to check that the police are going to be following these things? So there are the things. We can make use of resources and policy making. Enough. We need action. Every single day we are affected by the issue. Every single day, right now, 40% of people who are in the province are women working in the lowest sector jobs. $11.25 minimum wage. Poverty has a colour. That colour is us. So how this racism is going to be identified? By the systems that we want to hear it. We should not be only that you feel for us. It should be you are going to be affected by this way, and I'm just understanding our problem. We want to make a strong nation. We want to build a strong nation. But without us, no, you cannot do it. But if you are not interested in our problem, how is it going to be solved? And how is the system going to work? That I want to hear in here. But unfortunately, I don't hear these things. Not a single minister is telling that, yes, these systems are going to be having an umbrella that we're going to impose to the other system. Not creating the priority. Not creating the division. We all are equal. That we want to hear. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: Hello, everyone. I'm here to talk about the OPS, and for those who don't know what the OPS stands fork that’s The Ontario public service. (potentially identifying information removed)I want everyone to know I'm not if you're aware of this, but racism, particularly anti‑black racism is rampant in the OPS.
And if you speak out about racism in the OPS, you are going to be met with denial, anger, marginalization, retaliation, punishment, suspension, and even firing. And what I want to know is how can the Directorate make changes even though it’s come out with the Anti‑Racism Action Plan, which is really just a plan. It’s not about action. If the government is denying racism exists and if racism exists in The Ontario public service, that is going to affect everything. It’s going to affect all our institutions, our educational system, our health system . I've been subject to racism and discrimination. When I've spoke or spoken out about it, I have been penalized. I also want to say that it’s not just anti‑Black racism, though that is the most prevalent, just like Indigenous racism, but also racism toward all non‑white groups. And I have to say that people are very much afraid to speak out about racism. I'm talking about lawyers. People have commented a lot of time on their education. A lot who went into government because we wanted to make a change. And they are afraid to speak out. They're afraid that it’s going to be a career limiting move, because what happens is you become targeted. What happens is that you become marginalized. What happens is you are characterized as the aggressor, as the problem. Another thing the government has is something called the WDHP program.
>> Ginelle: Two more seconds, please.
>> Audience Member : And it stands for workplace Discrimination and Harassment prevention. This policy is used against racialized people. When we complain about discrimination and harassment, then our white colleagues bring complaints under this, with the help of management, to get us out of the office. Something has to be done. If you are serious and committed to making a change as a government, to making a change in Ontario, then you first have to start with the OPS. You have to start with your legal directors. You have to start with your deputy directors: You have to start with the partner generals. I'm looking at you, Steve Orsini, because you're the Secretary of Cabinet. You came out with the Anti‑Racism Action Plan, and I want to see more action and less talk. We haven't been suspended for speaking the truth about anti‑Black racism and any other form of ism in government, thank you.
>>Audience Member: . We (the Chinese Canadian National Council,included to add clarity )have been working for over 35 years in the trans community. And first and foremost, we would like to acknowledge, like many people have before me, the work done by Black Lives Matter Toronto over the years.
The Anti‑Racism Directorate is a direct result of their work to bring attention to anti‑Black racism in Toronto. We know we have to recognize how racism impacts different communities and how these issues are linked together. A common misconception about Chinese Americans is we work hard and achieve success and do not experience racism. That is not true. Racism is in our everyday lives and is embedded in our system. It affects mental health and elders' quality of life. We also have little or poor representation in the Canadian mainstream media and occupy few economic and political leadership roles. This here type of trans‑Canadians as model minorities and frame us as perpetual foreigners and subservient members of society. At the same time, it opposes and compares us against communities that don't fit this narrative. In fact, these communities such as Indigenous and Black communities are disproportionately targeted by racial profiling and police brutality and have a higher rate of immature deaths and less access to opportunities because of their skin colour. This is how systemic racism works. It divides and conquers us.
As a Canadian-Chinese organization, we're here today to stand against racism, including discrimination against Black, Indigenous, Muslim, and Asian communities. As a culture, we need to take a stronger stance against all times of racism. More importantly, government must take leadership in creating a strong Anti‑Racism Directorate with will inform institutions. As outlined in the legislative framework put forward by the Colour of Change that has been circulated, we also agree that the Anti‑Racism Directorate must become legislated and the budget allocated to the Directorate needs to be increased and a strategy with a concrete plan should be adopted.
>> Ginelle: Okay. You're over time a bit.
>> Audience Member: These are necessary steps in order for the Directorate to make a lasting impact and we will get to work with our allies to hold the directorate accountable.
Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: Good evening, everyone(name removed ) We're bringing different light to the issues, but ones we believe will pertain to everybody in this room. We actually come from an initiative (potentially identifying information removed) a group of young East Asian women and women in leadership roles. For the past several months we've been having ongoing discussions about issues that we face in Canada. Recently, we had a gathering with other East Asian women and shared stories and challenges of our stories of growing up and living in Canada. Contrary to what some people believe, East Asians have issues, lots of them which also pertain to everyone, as I've said, and is what the previous person had mentioned as well.
So we're here to bring awareness to the systemic issues to East Asians. We want to highlight two of the major [indiscernible] in our country. One, mental health issues and two, the under representation of East Asians in leadership and decision‑making roles.
Let’s start with some hard evidence. Although East Asian youth seems to be doing well academically, the TDSB student census has consistently showed that they lag far behind other groups in terms of class participation and confidence in leadership. Indeed, the latest TDSP census revealed in comparison to other groups, East Asian students have the most mental health concerns. One in three compared to one in four among the high school population were reported to have low emotional well‑being. Yet not much has been done to help our youth overcome mental obstacles.
It should be pointed out that it is not only our youth that are affected, but also the East Asian group as a whole. In a recent Canadian Association of Mental Health study, East Asians in particular, Chinese‑Canadians were found to make up the highest brackets of most severe mental patients, an issue that is further compounded by language barriers and culturally insensitive health services.
We feel that there is a lack of attention by the government in addressing the mental health communities. Moreover, as one of the largest visible minority groups in Canada, we face barriers in many institutions due to systemic racism. For instance, East Asians have a hard reasonable time moving up the career ladder or taking up leadership roles, known as the bamboo ceiling. In fact, a University of Toronto study has found that East Asians remain in relatively subordinate positions, despite disproportionately high enrollment rates in University. We are given leadership opportunities. It is sometimes perceived as filling a quota under the banner of diversity.
We come here today to under line the importance of the Directorate in following through with its priorities. For example, while the TSB has collected data to provide evidence about the needs of East Asian youth and other identified groups, we challenge other school systems, especially those with a high proportion of East Asians and other immigrant groups, to do the same. As a first step to developing a deeper understanding of these needs against racism for all groups.
The voices of our young people in the next generation need to be heard, and we must acknowledge that the zero type of mono‑minority hurts everyone. Furthermore, we ask the government to offer concrete support to pertinent organizations, not only through policies, but through partnerships, resources, and funding. And through these actions, we can provide more sustainable efforts to intentionally foster professional and personal development within the East Asian communities.
We thank you today for your time and attention.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Go ahead.
Audience Member: >> Hello. Good Evening. ) (potentially identifying information removed).
I'd like to talk about addressing number five and say ten years in the future, what I'd like to see, number one, is I'd like to see there be some severe consequences to any police officer that either arrests or either persecutes or does something to a black person. Right now there’s no consequences to them. There needs to be consequences in school systems. There needs to be consequences in the Durham CAS, the anti‑oppression right now that needs to be mandatory within the CAS. Okay? There’s taxpayers' dollars that are being wasted right now. I would like to see there be education from kindergarten level about what anti‑Black racism is. If you ask the average person, they don't know the difference between racism, anti‑Black racism. I'd like to see some education starting right from grade school. I'd like to see that, for example, Black History Month, is actually two multicultural months. No, it’s actually Black history. I'd like my children to learn the truth about what happened with Aboriginal people. I would like to see Black Lives Matter Durham. I want to mention something, and I know right now, Black Lives Matter in Durham. I live in Durham, and the racism that’s there right now, they don't even have any sort of training in their police system, in their school systems. I would like to see a Black Lives Matter in Durham and sir, Mr. Coteau, I'd like to see some unity between you and Black Lives Matter, because they're actually speaking to the issues in our community and they're actually making an impact. I don't believe why there’s such hostility between government. I'd like to actually see Black Lives Matter in the next election. I'd like for see one of you get out there and start campaigning, because you would have my vote and you'd have the vote of many people. And I really, really would like to see a collaboration, a unity between the two of you instead of a hostility. I'm trying to understand it. It’s not a matter that Black people are angry. It’s a matter that me, being a Black single Canadian woman, are living right now in oppression and there needs to be immediate change, sir.
>> Ginelle: Okay.
>>Audience Member: I'm not here to disrespect you. I'm not here to say anything negative. But if you will not collaborate peaceful I with the people that are actually doing the groundwork, that is sending alarms to me.
>> Ginelle: Can you wrap up your comments?
>> Audience Member: What it’s saying to me is that there’s some sort of idea that Black Lives Matter is doing something negative. (potentially identifying information removed)What a lot of people do not understand is that it’s one thing to say we're going put things in place, but we need to see action. The biggest thing I'd like to see is that someone from Black Lives Matter is sitting at the table with Michael Coteau and actually putting these laws and legacy in his place so that we actually can see physical change. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. Over here to this microphone.
>> Ginelle: Go ahead, sir.
>> Audience Member: Well, Good Evening to each and every law abiding Canadian school is against racial injustice. (name removed) I must say that to rebut, I love to rebut, we must first get to such person as The Honorable Marcus Masiagobi who touched this land many moons ago, and also to honor Dudley Laws, who I believe has been the shoulder on which Black Lives Matter has been walking on.
Around my neck is a membership card of the PC party. I've been actually a member of the progressive party since 1998. And one of my reasons why to be one of them at that time was due to the fact they were pretty much encourage and go supporting the working class. However, up on my studies at Sheridan college and being again front of different political professors and lawyers and been also trained by some of the, I believe, top persons in investigating and in community policing, I came to the perspective in basically being called by the NDPD party, (name removed), to basically be part of that party. However, in her embarkment with the Federal Liberal Party, I then became somewhat attached to the liberal provincial party. And in all that training that I have, there is still a systemic racism which have left me in the cold, being to experience in Mississauga and also in Toronto.
Back in the eighties, I had a police peace officer say that his mandate was to criminalize as many black persons as possible. Male black persons, that is. And my focus here tonight is to say not too long ago, we had chief Mark Sanders, who had taken it up on himself by different political ‑‑
>>Ginelle: I just want to tell you that you're over time right now. You have to wrap up.
>> Audience Member: Different community voices, make a public apology to the homosexual and the gay and lesbian community, which is right that they do however, I'm still yet to see an individual at all levels of government come and make an apology to Black males about the unnecessary tragedy that they have experienced. I've seen a mass deportation in the eighties back to Jamaica, Trinidad, and other places in the Caribbean, and still yet some was justified and others was unjustifiable. And still yet, I would like to see the Honorable Michael Coteau take this responsibility and apologize publicly on behalf of the young Black males that have been robbed of the opportunity that Canada offers.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Next microphone over here, please.
>>Audience Member: Greetings, everyone. (name removed)I'm with the Harriet Tubman community organization and also a member of the African‑Canadian Coalition of Organizations here in Toronto. I live downtown and attended the session like this downtown for where I live, and now my organizationis up this end where I work, and so I want to be here to also address some of those issues. I feel like in the first instance, I spoke about my personal experiences and the things that are hurtful to me as I see how people practice what they call public service work that is full of discrimination and biases that allow them to discriminate against huge population over and over again.
Now, I want to just speak a little bit to a couple of systemic things. I've written every comment that came to my mind since I've been here. I'm going to leave it with you. And I'm going to follow up by speaking to that. I agree with many things that I've heard here today, with my sisters and brothers who have brought forward the issues that are very significant and important to our community, and I want to say that there’s no way in two minutes that I could address all four of those questions. But because it’s significant, I want to say when you say that in the secretariat you're going to focus on systemic discrimination as the mandate, I want to say that it’s some of those little individual practices and biases that say I'm going to do this part, but not that part. And those little choices that people make, that needs to be placed and sanctioned.
I'm going to say that in terms of cultural nuances, those pieces are things that make people feel unwelcome, slapped across the face when they're not addressed and when they're not standardized. Nobody can say that, okay, the Directorate can define a set of cultural practices that you can only use with all Black people or with all Indigenous people, but there has to be some attempt at understanding and mandating that there is something there that needs to be respected and nuanced and talked about and courted so that we get to understand each other differently and we get to understand what’s important and valued by different communities. And I really want to say that in terms of social experiences that people have
>>Ginelle: Can you please wrap up your comments?
>> Audience Member: Yes, I can. Social experiences that people have here in Toronto, like I wanted to go and see the mayor speak and talk about issues that are relating to my organization. The tickets are $200. There’s no way that we could attend. We don't get to see the people and shake the hands of those that are in the know. And those experiences leave us out in the cold more than taking off your winter coat in sub‑degree winter weather.
>>Ginelle: Okay. Next speak officer
>> Yes. Hi, Good Evening. (name and potentially idenyfying information removed) I haven't heard anything right now, this evening, about the healthcare system, but that is another place that needs to be dealt with. And I mean forcefully. To the point where I'm trying to understand why doctors, anybody in the healthcare profession is not focusing on this (sickle cell) disease. It has been discovered over 105 years ago and we're now in 2016. We are still dealing with walking into the hospital and as soon as we walk in, we are labeled or discriminated against because of our colour. We're discriminated because of the amount of drugs that we need to deal with the immense pain that we go through once we walk in. The first thing we have to deal with is nurses and doctors telling us that the amount of medication we're taking is too much and that they will reduce the amount that we are supposed to be given, which increases the amount of time that we're in ER. It eventually has us admitted into hospital and then on top of that, we're there for weeks on end, maybe months.
>> Ginelle: Please wrap up your comments.
>> Audience Member: That is taking up a lot of money in the government system. We are basically dubbed a burden on the healthcare, but yet the government doesn't put any funds towards the voluntary agencies that are out there willing to help people living with sickle cell disease. So I have to say that racism must be considered as a social determinant of health. Mental health is number one, because we are struggling and we're fighting everybody tooth and nail to just make sure that we are taken care of so we can go back to our lives. We can go back to our family. We can go back to work. And that is another thing. If we're not working, then we're just looked upon as lazy, drug seekers, a menace, trouble makers. We're really just angry because no one is listening. No one is hearing us. The government knows about the sickle cell disease and thalassemia and does nothing about it. We don't even have any money, no funds, no government funding, no recognition, for and for 43 years I would think something is going on, and we're not seeing any progress.
>> Ginelle: Please wrap up your comments.
>> Audience Member: Will do. So I'm just saying healthcare for sure on top of workplace discrimination and in the teaching institutions. Our children are being targeted. I have fought for my daughter for 18 years and she is still being targeted and she just started college . It has to start from when they are young.
>> Thank you.
>> Why am I always calling the principal, calling the schools, calling the teachers to talk to them and ask them, why is my child being left behind? Why is there no help? Yet there is help for other kids which are nonblack, and I have seen it for myself in the educational system and in the healthcare system. A lot of our families living with sickle cell, their families are not getting any kind of support, social support, proper social support for the entire family. Not just for the person living with sickle cell, but the entire family. And that is what I need addressed.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much.
>> Ginelle: Next speaker?
>> Audience Member: Thank you. (name and potentially idenyfying position removed). If you take a look around the room tonight, see the bodies that are represented here, you get a sense of what power is really about. Take a look around at what we see. How many of us work at institutions such as education, policing, healthcare, and so on? If it was talking about who is in control, what would the colour look like tonight? Take a look. This is what we need to address. I'm looking at number two. I am also speaking about the issues with our children and youth. What is it going to look like. Because if our children and youth are being discriminated against, what are we going to look like 10 years from now? We have to take action now. Big time action we have to take right now. How are we going to monitor the people who are in control in school systems, in police service, and in healthcare? They don't look like me for the most part. They are the ones who have the power how are we going to somewhat equalize that? How are we going to do that? You know what? Is it going to take forever? We need action now.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
Audience Member: >> Good Afternoon. (name removed). I wear too many hats, so there’s no need to address that. Key things, minister, and to other members here. When you're looking at number one, number one is the key issue you need to address. The government itself is the entity that needs to be fixed. You are the bodies that deal with education, housing, social services, healthcare, policing. Let’s run the gamut. If you cannot internally fix the mechanisms that are required to ensure that racism and discrimination does not occur, then you're not doing anything. Right now you're not serving justice. You don't need two, three, and four up there. They're irrelevant. You know you need to collect data. By looking at the number of people arrested, the number of dropouts, the number of students not being able to succeed within the system, job and employment, housing, Ontario housing, the way it’s laid out. The numbers are there. It’s simple. Really addressing and looking internally. Even if you look at the members, who constitute the government employees? Who are the individuals who have the power to make the decisions? How are the bodies able to lay out policies? How much loopholes have to be jumped before policy can come to fruition? Who are the stakeholders and who are the binding entities that stop us from going forward? Those are some of the key parts.
The other piece to look at, several people are talking about carding. You need to know, it’s called 5816 is a brand new policy, the police services acted that is being put forward. You need to be appraised as to what is laid out within it. The policies and procedures need to come down by Chief Saunders from the board. That has to come. It has to be implemented by January 1st. It needs to be put forward. You're looking at all the police services around Ontario. Is it going to be unified? Is it not going to be unified? What’s going to be put forward? Who’s going to be looking at what issues? Who are we going to deal with when it comes to aspects of how we're going to lay this out. Don't be fooled by just saying carding. Look closely at 5816 and look at how each police service in which you live, how are those policies going to be rolled out? Who’s going to be affected? Who’s going to be impacted?
We have to, again, call upon our levels of government, the ministers that hold the positions. What is your job? How ‑‑
>>Ginelle: you've reached your two minutes.
>> Audience Member: My two minutes went fast, then.
>> Ginelle: But you're doing well.
>> Audience Member: How are you really going to ensure. And I speak fast. Ensure that we're dressing the key issues? Because right now, education must be addressed. Healthcare must be addressed by what we spoke on. I must say our history??? is so key. The justice system and judiciary have key factors. We have representation from various racialized groups. You are correct. Many are being censored. They cannot speak out. Many are losing their jobs. Many are also faced with the fact of having charges brought against them for harassment and intimidation in their workplace, for being Black, for being powerful, articulate, and very intelligent people. Therefore, they're deemed as the people that are scary. We have to fix this.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much. Next speaker, please.
Audience Member: Good Evening. I am honored to join the many community leaders, residents, today to join this important discussion on eliminating, not decreasing, systemic racism in our province. Before commenting, I want to recognize and pay my respect to the long history and contributions of First Nations communities that have come before us. And identifying information removed)As a background, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is an independent non‑partisan and not profit organization dedicated to protecting the Human Rights and civil liberties of Canadian Muslims across the country. Over the summer, NCCM held press conferences across the country and launched a new project called the Charter for Inclusive Communities. The Charter affirms the dignity of every person and calls for concerted efforts to counter prejudice and hate and develop programs and specific policies to reduce and eliminate Islamophobia in all of its forms. Over 100 individuals and institutions have signed this Charter, including police forces, universities, community agencies, and politicians.
The recent rise in anti‑Muslim incidents in Ontario is disturbing and it is eroding the strength of our province’s rich social fabric. All across Ontario, we have seen Muslim women being attacked in the streets, mosques being vandalize and had people facing prejudice in their workplace and at schools. It is not only Canadian Muslims that suffer. Canadian society as a whole is weakened, because our values of equality, respect, justice, and dignity for all are threatened. Given the unfortunate climate of fear, that seems to have entered some segments of public life, it appears this trend is growing. Islamophobia is real and it is wrong.
This type of hate discrimination tells Canadian Muslims that they don't belong and isolates them and their communities and we must also –
>> Ginelle: You've reached time.
>> Audience Member: Wrapping up. We must also remember that inter-sectionality is often at play. A Muslim in Ontario may be targeted for their beliefs or their skin colour or their ethnicity or any identifiable characteristics or all of them at once. So we need to take action and work collectively to create more inclusive communities. On behalf of NCCM, I want to say that we look forward to working with the Government of Ontario work on all levels of government, civil society, and government leaders on these issues. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Next speaker on this side.
>>New Member: Hello, everyone. (name removed) this is my little friend, the future, and he’s going to address number five.
>> Hi. (name removed) on number five, it says in 10 years into the future, what does success look like for anti‑racism directorate? And I drew a picture of a policeman shooting a black man holding an object, knowing what it is and shooting him for no reason. And it says in 10 years, but actually, I don't want this in 10 years. I want this now.
Audience Member: (identifying information removed)
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: For those who know, I can tell‑obviously profess to Sikh, which is a religion. I start off with a traditional greeting, which means the pure ones belong to the Lord and all victories belong to the Almighty. I'm here today speaking on behalf of Ontario 600 council. It has actually grown beyond their role of just not working in Ontario, but we were very instrumental in helping with the Minton fires by sending truckloads of material, with the Canadian drug circumstances. Sikhs are the largest ethnic religious group that contributes to the Canadian blood services. By December 2014, we were able to save 104,000 lives, and there are only half a million of us here.
The problem, you know, honorable Mr. Coteau, Minister of racism, sorry, Minister of anti‑racism, the problem is actually quite evident as my wonderful friend over there highlighted, the one with the checklist. We are resistant to change. So my part here is going to be in regards to those questions. So in tackling systemic racism, what systems or institutions in Ontario should the government address first? Well, address yourselves.
How important is it that the government collect race‑based data? You really need to ask that? I think data is the foundation for everything. How can the government help people better understand systemic racism and where should we start? Just start somewhere, as long as you start. How should the government continue to engage, work with, and communicate with racialized and Indigenous communities to address and prevent racism? Here I have to make a point among all the other points. We want a seat at the table. So every ‑‑
>> Ginelle: You've reached time.
>>Audience Member: Every community group ‑‑ well, if I'm up my time, you shouldn't have asked, have so many questions. Maybe ask only three next time. Every community group, that lady over there, Black Lives Matter, the Sikhs, all the other religions, all the other ethnic groups, we need a seat at the table. So not only can we provide our input, but we can also police you as we go along.
Question number five, 10 years into the future, what does success look like for the work of the Anti‑Racism Directorate? Well, the way you guys are going, you won't have to worry about that long. Thank you very much. Have a Good Evening.
>> Ginelle: Next speaker, please, from this mic.
>> Audience Member: Hi. (name removed) I do want to say thank you to The Ontario government for doing this consultation. I know we all see things in different ways and I see it as a good start. To fight racism, We were fighting for the Chinese Canadian community at the time, but we got a lot of help from the black community, from every community, in fact.
And I just want to say that the way we've been fighting racism perhaps is a little wrong. Okay? And it’s a long story. I don't want to get into that, but I do think that the anti‑racism Secretariat should take a look at the book by Professor Allen Langer, who is a psychology Professor from Harvard, and she’s been writing a book on how we can fight racism. And that is not to keep saying we are treating everybody the same. It is to look at that particular person, that particular group and note our differences.
So when you say, for instance, if you are a police officer, seeing on the street somebody who is Black and immediately you can do stereotyping in your mind and treat them all the same, you know? Well, that’s how mistakes can be made. So I would think that people have to learn about mindfulness and really apply that in the fighting of racism. Okay? In fact, (name removed) suggested that we fight discrimination by using more discrimination in the sense that we have to differentiate more and not just to look at the surface.
Now, there are two ways to fight racism. May I offer some work that I have done in the past?
>>Ginelle: You only have ‑‑ you've reached time.
>> Audience Member: Okay. Well, first of all, institutional change. Concentrate on that one. We should have Employment Equity Act, which in 1986 was in the federal government. It’s been very successful, and we can do that in the province. It was proposed in the nineties, but somehow it got scrapped.
The second one is public education. It has to be a two‑pronged process. The public education starts from the schools, starts from all the government institutions. And you have to get them. You have to change people’s minds. So anyway, I'll stop at that.
>> Ginelle: Thank you.
>> Audience Member: I'm [indiscernible] (identifying information removed)We are a collection of Asian, labor, and community activists dedicated to fighting inequities with the focus on anti‑racism and in particular, anti‑Asian racism. First we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, who has been instrumental in exposing the systemic anti‑Black racism in policing and has been in the forefront, demanding justice, accountability, and transparency from our justice systems and government.
We support and would like to reiterate the anti‑Black racism network’s recommendations that have been given to the Premier and shared in earlier consultations. This includes developing a legislative mandate for the Directorate, collecting disaggregated [indiscernible] and youth in the child welfare and prison systems ‑‑
>>Ginelle: Sorry. I'm just mindful of the fact that people are signing, so slow it down just a bit.
>>Audience Member: I'm trying to go quickly.
>>Ginelle: I understand.
>> Audience Member: The need for education and training on race, anti‑racism, and anti‑Black racism for anti‑racism staff, and more broadly in the general public, and of course addressing the issue of police carding. But in addition to these points, it is important to acknowledge other and often overlapping forms of systemic racism. For example, people of colour are more likely to live in poverty is well‑known that people of colour are over‑represented in low paying and precarious work. While on average making less than their white counterparts in Canadian society. Even when they share the same levels of education. This is a form of systemic racism, so there are a number of ways to address it. This includes reestablishing The Ontario Employment Equity Act, as others have mentioned. Raising the minimum wage, and everyone I'm hoping is familiar with the five for 15 campaign.
And strengthening The Ontario Employment Standards Act, including expanding the definition of employee to include contract employees and ensuring there are adequate resources for enforce workplace standards. This is needed in order to protect precarious and low paid workers who are disproportionately people of colour.
We also need to amend The Ontario Labor Relations Act so workers can more fairly join a union. For example, by enabling card check union certification. Union representation helps improve working conditions and provides more protection to precarious and low paid workers who, as mentioned, are disproportionately, and say it with me, people of colour. Because people of colour experience high poverty rates and are more disadvantaged in the labor markets, it is important to ensure we have strong public services. Historically, these services have played a role in reducing poverty and supporting healthy communities. So part of the systemic change includes addressing the gaps in these services like improving access to public affordable housing. We all know that the housing market is not great in Toronto and the GTA, along with the incredibly long housing public wait lists in Ontario who are comprised largely of immigrant families and people of colour. Ensuring families have access to public high quality child care, which we know is not affordable for most families in the province, and limits the participation of people of colour and new immigrants in the labor market, and equitable access to healthcare, as others have mentioned here.
>> Ginelle: Could you wrap up your comments?
>> Audience Member: Yes. So all of these previous points, they only scratch the surface, but they speak to the issue of systemic racism, which can only be addressed in a comprehensive and meaningful way with real resources. So our final recommendation is to increase the budget for the Anti‑Racism Directorate to ensure that substantive action and policies actually come out of this initiative.
>>Ginelle: Thank you. Next speaker here.
>> Audience Member: Hi. (name and identifying information removed)There is obviously not enough time to go into everything. I didn't come with anything prepared, so I just have a few points. When it comes to child welfare, we all know there’s a need to collect data, but also data on the staff hiring and staff body within these organizations. We need to incorporate anti‑racism education in the child welfare organization, make it a mandatory annual training with it comes to best practices. We also need greater diversity in CASs and OCASs when it comes to leadership positions. Again, the staff body needs to be representative of the racial eyes and the marginalized community that we live in. There’s a lot of diversity that needs to be considered and presently isn't within some CASs.
There is a need for worker safeguards and protection of racialized employees who experience racism on the job at CAS. And that is by staff and/or by clients, because there are a lack of safe spaces for the Black workers in a lot of public sector employment positions where you're working with the community. You go out. You experience racism on the job. You come back to a very old and unsupportive office.
We also need to address agency and union collusion, which has a disproportionate or a disservice to racialized individuals. So that’s agency [indiscernible]. When it comes to employment, we need to implement racial employment equity policies that promote the hiring of racialized individual. We need to have a standardized safeguard system in place for racialized individuals that make complaints on the job so that when you do speak up, you don't lose your job or are forced to live in an environment that is so toxic that you have to quit. We need to implement disciplinary actions for employers and employees who engage in day‑to‑day racism on the job.
We need to incorporate race based data when it comes to all areas of employment which include Social Services, human services ‑‑
>>Ginelle: You've reached time.
>> Audience Member: The field of policing, housing, and education. When it comes to policing, I think we need to implement education and training that we need to go after the Ontario College of Police Training and look at their courses and focus on an anti-racism education and curriculum that also focused on white bias and colourism, including cultural sensitivity. We need to change the complaint and resolution process at police stations and make sure that it is not in their hands at all. It needs to be in the hands of an independent oversight body, because that will increase the safety for racialized individuals to come forward and to make these complaints. And right now, we do not know how many people have gone to police stations, have documented their concerns, or have gone through the process and there’s no records of it, or how many people were turned away.
We also need to make sure that we mandate community policing units to be representative of the diverse communities that they serve. That is the bottom line. If you're stationed or supposed to be stationed in a community, you need to be representative. If you're out in your cruiser or you're doing undercover work or anything, you need to be representative of communities that you serve, because it causes a lot of trauma for individuals in these communities. Let’s say there’s an investigation or anything underway. People think the KKK had literally invaded their communities. And that causes terror.
We need to expunge the carding data, the practice of carding we know is ethically and morally abhorrent. Innocent people were caught up in that, and the fact that if there is no one that has been charged, I am not clear on why their information would be in the system to begin with. We also don't know the accuracy of what was recorded, what was omitted, and we don't know what the repercussions could be for that individual when it comes to looking for work or housing or even just racial profiling. They could be targets. They don't know.
The next thing we need to also do is mandate an independent oversight body to collect race‑based data and to handle all complaints that are made to police stations.
>> Ginelle: I think ‑‑ I'm going to have to ask you ‑‑
>> Audience Member: There’s one more thing when it comes to education concerning the TDSB. We need to make sure all forms of discrimination are included in the curriculum. The first time I was ever called a n----- (offensive term )was by a kid in Pakistan and I was in Whitby. I'm sorry I had to use that word. I went there. It was used against me. Racism happens not just from white to black, but also within the racialized communities as well. We need to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter has done a lot of work, but we need to also give credit to all of us and to all of the organizations whose names and faces we don't know who have fought this fight and may not be on the front, you know, on the front lines on our screens or in our newspapers, but we do our actions day‑to‑day and we protest in a variety of ways.
>> Ginelle: Thank you very much, thank you.
>> Go ahead.
>> Hi. (name removed)I'm just going to take a quick second. I'm a social worker. I'm so into wellness. There’s so much energy and power in this room, I forget to go breathe. So can we all just take a second. Big in and big out, because I can feel it.
What I wanted to talk about is systemic racism in employment. Precarious and part time opportunities seems to be a huge trend when it comes to people of colour,and I'm speaking as a semi recent graduate. You know, with the place that I work at, many a time, I've been on contract for almost two years. I have a master’s degree. And I probably do more work than anybody else in there, but I'm preaching to the choir I'm sure. Many a time, though, I'm brought into those photos so I can be put on websites so we show we have the token Muslim brown woman working in their office amongst white management.
So this impacts my mental health, accessibility to services, and wellness. We are Graduates with very honorable and in very recognized programs. Systemically and historically, we've overcome institutional barriers to access education, but you see, after graduation, a new struggle begins.
There is one full‑time black Professor in a particular program at the institution that I work at. It’s a college in Toronto. One full male Professor in a program with hundreds and hundreds of students. When we speak of a professor at this reduction, I meet with students every day to provide counseling. Students of colour that are counting pennies to survive and come to school, given this idea that they're going to be given this beautiful great job after. Instead, I fear they will have access to three‑month contracts. This is not an individual issue. This is systemic. I don't want to be given half the pay, no benefits, and working extremely hard to appeal to, once again, white management and hoping that one day I'll get a permanent job.
This is shared by many and many people of colour, and I think this is definitely something that we need to put on these little agendas of systemic racism.
>> Ginelle: Thank you so much.
>> Audience Member: Thank you.
>>Ginelle: Next speaker.
>> Hello. (name and identifying information removed) I stand here not only for the Filipino Workers Network, but also from my community, and I feel I am the minority here, because I am also a staunch advocate of Catholic education and never has it been mentioned in this gathering about the Toronto Catholic school board, where one of three students is of Filipino heritage. And their structure is not reflecting that.
We have very few Filipino teachers in the school. The curriculum is not friendly to our community. So I support everyone that has spoken about anti‑racism. The Filipino Workers Network supports that, because when I first arrived here in 1993, the first issue that came to me when I read the newspaper was the lashing?? out of the Filipino youth in the Scarborough Youth Centre, Scarborough Town Centre when Filipinos gathered together. Our youth, they are kicked out of the shopping centre. So that’s one of the things that Filipinos are not immune to this racism.
And I also think about the killing and mauling of [indiscernible] in Vancouver. [indiscernible] and medical violence against 25 Filipino youth, also this Vancouver technical secondary school. And the killing of [indiscernible] who was killed here or near the ‑‑ yeah, you remember that. Where the police shot him. So we are feeling, as a community, that we are also being affected by the racism. So we are in solidarity with the cause of Black Lives Matter, of all of our people of colour here as we are in the community. We are feeling the discrimination and, you know, our youth are also a large dropout and everything. So I specifically ask at this point ‑‑
>> Ginelle: You've reached time.
>>Audience Member: Look at the Toronto Catholic school board as well. You've already got the data for the Toronto district, but I'm not sure what’s happening to the Catholic District School Board.
>> Thank you so much. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Next?
>> Audience Member: Hello. Good night. My Honorable Ministers, I know I'm happy to be part of this group here tonight. I want to acknowledge the work of Black Lives Matter.
However, I would like to ask The Honourable Attorney General and the Ministers here tonight, would you consider passing a Bill to make Islamophobia a hate crime in Ontario, as well as in Canada, given the crisis of Donald Trump and for the last four years Islamophobia and the cases we have here in Canada has increased twice the number of times. We know nine years ago that Islamic history month was designated here in October, but that has not changed the scene of Islamophobia every day. We have to deal with it every day in corrections, in healthcare, in the school system, in the media, in everyday life.
So again, I'm asking what will we do to make this a hate crime? Thank you very much.
Ginelle: Thank you. Next speaker.
>> Audience Member (name removed) A lot of very nice speakers have already made very worthwhile speeches. I don't want to copy them. I can tell you, yeah, we need patient‑centred care and culturally competent care. But it all comes down to number one. Yeah, I can't answer number one. You can't just pick one thing and do it first. Yeah, you have to do all the data, because we now know that all the discussion of carding is there’s some data in the police, but apparently everywhere else there is no data. Like I don't know. But yeah, you have to get the data. Right? And I don't know how many details you have to do that, but honestly,I'm a Chinese worker. I work with every other worker who finds that they have to get a public service job to achieve, because they don't have the privilege to get ahead. And no matter what the government does to improve the business investment climate, no, it is about public services. So when you, in the Cabinet, make decisions on economic decisions, it affects the rest of us who are immigrants, who are people of colour, who are workers of colour who depend on a minimum wage. Someone said that. Who depend on social services and the health services outside of institutions, because yeah, you have cut hospitals. Yeah, you have cut speech and language and developmental services. So everybody is trying to raise our own children by ourselves. You are cutting everything. You contract out autism services. Asian people have autistic children, too. Okay?
>> Ginelle: You've reached two minutes.
>> Audience Member: Yeah. So you're contracting out and your austerity is affecting the people who need the policies and the serves that you need. And I think the other speakers are much better. I don't want to copy them. But you can't just pick one thing first. Your economic policy is infused with all of the anti‑racism work, because if you cut things anymore, we all suffer. The rest of us suffer. Not you guys who are making six‑figure salaries. Sorry.
>>Ginelle: Thank you. Next?
>>Audience Member: Good Evening. I'm going to try to keep this under two minutes. So he endured many, many hardships to ensure that I, myself, his son, would not grow up to be a third class citizen. I would hope that the individuals over there take this into consideration that many of us second generation youth, we don't want to be still, to this day, third class citizens.
I also want to touch on the point, and I'm just going to go full on form to keep this, and you guys forgive me, because I'm going to go fast, that said, I am very, very saddened that we don't ‑‑ and I understand they may have their personal obligations, but Ms. Wynne, Mr. Tory, Ms. Horvath, Mr. Brown, they should be here.
If they were really committed for making a change, they'd commit to being here. More so, they can commit to ongoing meetings either at this facility, the JCA, the Islam Center of Toronto. I might be getting that wrong. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Right? But meanwhile, you'll have these same, and I could be wrong, same individuals will do black flips to attend other meetings with other groups, With that said, I have to turn it back onto my community. We give these people our votes and don't ask them for anything.
We give people our votes who spit in your face and/or do nothing for you. Okay? I also want to say why I mentioned my father. He may not be a perfect man, but he’s the reason why I'm not like some of the people out here. My father is a good man. So with that said, to the individuals over there, stop targeting our families. Stop targeting our fathers. Stop pulling our fathers out of our homes. And let our fathers be fathers to their children.
>> Ginelle: Can you wrap up your comments, please?
Audience Member: I'm going there. I am going to answer these questions now. I'm just getting revved up, here we go.
>> Ginelle: I'm going to have to ask you to remember wrap up, though. So I don't know how getting revved up fits with getting wrapped up.
>>Audience Member: I'll let it out after.
>>Ginelle: Help me with that.
>> Audience Member: I'll let it out after. But I'll say this. In question number one, let’s attack the skilled trades and the unions. You don't see many two guys who look like me. Okay? If I'm strong enough?? to be in your sports arenas. Right? Then I should be strong enough and mentally able enough ‑‑ forgive me, because I'm just service ‑‑ to be working on your fields or, excuse me, in your construction fields. Right? You have so many people who drop out. This was on Omni‑TV about maybe three weeks ago. A man was Portuguese TV. A man said we can drop out of high school, walk to Deluna and be hired for $25 the next day, whereas some of us, we're lucky to even make it out of high school because of systems that are in place to force us out. I'm going to go ‑‑
>> Ginelle: I'm really going to have to stop you there and ask you to be mindful of the gathering. And we have to get to someone else. (name removed)Audience Member: >> (name removed) Greetings, everyone. (name and identifying information removed) I've done a lot of research as well, so I believe that no new data is needed. We have so much research on the shelves collecting dust. So regarding career education, entrepreneurship, Dr. Carl James from York just did a research study for C centre for young black professionals conducted in 2016, health and mental health, CAMH by Antoine Deroves, and you can also consult [indiscernible] across boundaries for stat. Regarding healing from racism, Dr. Quia Koomsa has conducted extensive research with focus groups all over Ontario for Wilfrid Laurier University. AAs a brother and sister said earlier, we need action.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Next?
>>Audience Member: I'm a Canadian and I'm going to speak simple English, so I hope everybody will understand. I'm a proud Canadian. I live in a great country on earth. Canada is the greatest. Now, racism, racism exists. We cannot deny it. It exists. But I have a solution for this racism. We had a lot of talk from many professionals and we came up with solutions. I'm going it to say it now.
Now, I think let’s make Canada great again by fighting racism. How we fight racism is multiculturalism. It divides the nation. Creates classes. Class one, Class two. So on. Become slaves to a group of people running this country. So scrub multiculturalism. One community, one unity. We build a great nation. We build industries. Industries are the engines of the economy and job creation. Not infrastructure, parks, and all this money going there. So we have to be one community. Don't tell, don't ask. Don't ask where you're from. No. Good attitude. Deal with him. Respect people. That’s it. His religion object, where he come from, why you care about this? The only thing ‑‑ and don't tell about yourself, what you are. That is very important.
Now, two things I want to say quickly. Government of Canada, when you immigrants come, first they tell them, keep your culture.
>> Ginelle: You have to wrap up here.
>>Audience Member: Why you keep your culture? Because they don't want them to say they are Canadians. Keep your culture. A group of people as Canadians cannot keep your culture. We don't want to hear it. Now, racism in the workplace, he said many people upset about it. Human Resources Canada controls the jobs in this country, in Toronto. Human services Canada appoints individuals to be Human Resources managers for every company.
>>Ginelle: Sir ‑‑
>> Audience Member: That’s got to be stopped.
>> Ginelle: Sir, I have to ask you to wrap up your comments, please.
>> Audience Member: Of course think about it. One community. Why you have to be divided? You give a chance for every other group of people around you, and we are defeated. No, we are all equal. No matter what colour or what shape, what religion, what you have. You want to keep your culture. You have your own community. But the United States is a great country, because all Americans fight. Number one, the walls. Why don't we be better than them
>> Ginelle Thank you.
>>Ginelle: Thank you. We have no more speakers over here? Okay. Back to that mic.
>> Audience Member: Good Evening. (name and identifying information removed) The overarching message that I think has been provided to The Honorable members today is that racism is alive and well in Ontario. I know it is, because our lawyers (at the Human Rights Legal Support centre, name added for clarity) and our staff deal with over 25,000 inquiries on a yearly basis I can't understand who are looking for some assistance with issues that cover discrimination in employment, in housing, in hospitals. We know certainly with the police and we provide assistance to people who are bringing application before it the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario up to representation at mediation and at hearings. I would encourage everyone to check out our website and to recognize that we are a tool that can be used to press forward the issue of dealing with systemic racism. We are fortunate enough and we are able to obtain systemic remedies in terms of the applications that we work on. There’s no simple answer and I do commend everyone for coming in and speaking and sharing their experiences, but I ask you to consider the tools that are available in the province to assist with issues of racism and discrimination. Thank you.
>> Thank you.
>> Audience Member: (name removed) speaker so I'll keep it short. I'm a third year University student. I'm a police foundations graduate. As this young lawyer so candidly pointed out, I have dreadlocks in my hair. You can see that. Because I have to appropriate to European culture, I've not applied to a forcefully am fully capable. I'm strong. I was a competitive gymnast for 14 years. What I could possibly have to cover, plus with my experiences in the communities is far that beyond what a farmer or ‑‑ I don't even know how to explain it. I don't know where they get them from, but they clearly have no previous interaction with the communities they are serving. I want to make this quick. I am currently being harassed by Durham CAS. They have a major issue, major issue with trying to assimilate families to what they believe is the proper way to raise children. The first thing that needs to be addressed is language. The language that’s being used is not only racist, but down right degrading. If we do not adhere to European standards, we're basically being told we cannot parent. Our children are being stolen from us, kidnapped for lack of a term, because that’s what it is. They're being placed into white families and growing up lost. Let’s be real. The reason why these systems are being called, oh, there’s so much ‑‑ they're being bombarded with racism is because they were built off of a white supremacist system. You will never be able to get to the bottom of any of these until that’s admitted. You're rolling your neck. It hurts. I know It’s the truth. Until that is admitted, we will never see any change. And I want you guys to take note of one thing, because the real big players who should be here tonight, like they had spoken about, Kathleen Wynne and others, they are not here to hear. This I want you guys to bring it back to them. The passion that is in this room, we are tired. Sick and tired, sick and tired. I want you guys to feel it. Feel it in your bodies and bring it back to them and let them know, if there’s not some serious change, we will take action ourselves. I almost cried. He stood here basically pleading to you guys that he does not want to be shot before he reaches 21. That should not even have to be coming out of that little baby’s mouth. That is ridiculous and you guys have to start thinking about what kind of society we are living in when a little 11‑year‑old boy is worried about that. Your Caucasian children never have to worry about that, ever. You're safe. We're not. So when we start feeling our back is up against the wall, as it has been for the last 500 years, we're going to start taking some action. They killed Malcolm X, but trust and believe. There is 15,000 more like him ready to stand up if this is not changed.
Unknown: Thank you.
>> Unknown: How is the room, guys?
>> Ginelle: Let me just do a check. How many more speakers do we have? We had to cut the list off, so we can't keep adding people. We're just going to keep going. Go ahead, sir.
>> Audience Member: Good Evening, everyone. (name removed) It’s wonderful to know that all this energy in the room, the ministers ask for you to hear from you guys this evening, and I think the message is well put together to make sure that messages are there now for them to take back and deal with it. But I first want to thank Ms. Premier Kathleen Wynne. I'll tell you. I want to thank her, because a number of agencies, organizations have spoken about some of these concerns, including Black Lives Matter. And as a result of that, she has created the Anti-Racism Directorate, which is Minister Coteau’s responsibility. And as a result of that, I believe that we give them the information we have, and I'm hoping that the whole ministry and the whole administration of the government will take the next action from what they've heard here this evening.
What I want to say is going to be shocking, because one of the things that happens is this. Kathleen Wynn gave that responsibility to an Afro‑Canadian. What it means is that use your power within your office to do the job. Get it done. We heard a lot of complaints in this room this evening and I'm hoping that the Afrocentric ‑‑ sorry, that this Afro‑Canadian ministers and people with brown or black or whatever should make certain that we go out there and get things done. Go and get it done, because people are talking about it and it must be done.
>> Ginelle: I'm going to ask you to wrap up, please.
>> Audience Member: I want to talk about schools, really and truly. I want to talk about the entire school system since being a trustee in the schools that I heard some concerns this evening with regards to the need to teach these kids from K all the way up and started teaching them about anti‑racism, because the elderly folks out there still aren’t getting it. They don't understand it. We've got so many minorities within our school system, and the teachers are not reflective of that. The principles are not reflective of it. The whole administration doesn't seem to get it. We've got so many of our high schools ‑‑
>> Ginele: I'm going to have to ask you to wrap up your comments, please.
>> Audience Member: High school students who are dropping out of high schools and not making it through. I share that probably the third person that spoke just before I got here who talk about leaving the fathers to look after their children. I strongly agree with those things, and so as a result of that, I'm going to hope that the minister, the government of the day, take care of this business and see how best we can help the families. Thank you.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Okay. We cannot extend the speakers list, so we have the woman who is next ‑‑ I'm sorry. Just one moment. So we are taking the last two and that’s it. Okay. Go ahead.
>> Audience Member: Melt oh, everyone. First of all, I want to say I'm really, really empowered by the people here. We have a lot of racialized folks that are really raising their voices and we should come together, because what’s going on right now is really not acceptable. I'm a resident here in Scarborough. I've lived here for a very long time. You know, coming from a working class family, I see firsthand the struggles my family faces. You know, I have very educated parents, but they work in low skill jobs. They're getting older, and even with myself, you know, I graduated top of my class. I did a great internship, but I've been doing precarious work for a very long time and I continue to do so, and I very well understand it’s because I am a racialized woman. For a long time, I also wore a hijab, a scarf on my head, and I know that very much affected the way I was treated.
Actually, kind of ironically ‑‑ okay, well I'll get to this later. I have a few questions. Number one question is, you know, this looks like a great initiative, the Anti‑Racism Directorate, but I mean, why is our liberal government putting forth policies like, for example, selling off our public hydro? To private corporations? This really, like, grossly affects marginalized people like the people here in Scarborough. So on the one hand, you're putting forth this Directorate, but on the other hand, you're doing things like that that really, really, you know, affects people who are already really poor, already really marginalized. So I don't understand why this is happening.
My second point is also to just really examine the kind of members of your caucus. A few years ago, I had an experience working with sue Wong, and to be honest, you have to really examine how some members treat people, treat their interns, treat their workers. Right? So that’s another thing to really, really examine. So I really think that this is a great initiative, but my first suggestion is to look really within your party. Look at the policies you're putting forth and look at the way you treat people. Thank you very much.
>> Ginelle: Thank you. Last speaker.
>> Audience Member: Ladies and gentlemen, good day. (identifying information removed)I how it would feel to have a rope thrown around your neck and pulled up a tree. Racism. I know it hand in hand. Now, the jail system. I've been there, too. I know how easy it is to get there. What I'm saying to all you guys there today, all the elected, I can't elect anyone, because I'm an immigrant, and in this country, I pay taxes. Supposed to obey all the laws, which that'sbull ___. There is no such laws for black people. The police use their force only on black people, you know? I've been there. I got white friends. We all have been in the system. We all know who’s getting more time than who is not.
Now, I said no more for my kids. And I said just like that little kid, just like my fiancée that just came up, I said, he ain't going to be in the hands of the police. That has to stop. And how it’s going to stop? We're going to vote all you guys out. And it starts from in the home. You see all the mothers, the fathers. Listen, it’s your voting rights that change the system. The system is broken. Why? The leaders are broken. You vote every single one of them out and put your own face.
and if that person could answer to you, but it’s then from other people, other races late in the system. Pull in a system that they snow bull crap. How do you stop racism? Take all the police out of the poor neighbourhoods.
>>Ginelle: I'm going to have to ask to you wrap up your comments, please.
>>Audience Member: My comment is this. It’s time for it to stop. My generation is so tired, so pissed off, and if you keep criminalizing all the black youth, what do you think you're going to get in 10 years? How much gunshot? How much bodies? Remember New York? Toronto was supposed to be Little New York. So every people in here, look how New York is out. Now stop criminalizing these black young youth and give them jobs. Okay? Give them jobs. I work in the system of construction and trust me, they need some young Black dudes in there.
>> Ginelle; Thank you so much. Thank you.
>> Audience Member: Thank you. Have a good day.
>> Ginelle: Okay. So it’s my formidable task to try and summarize for you the comments I've heard tonight, and what we've heard is about the right to wear the turban, about grandchildren of all colors standing side by side. A lot of speakers spoke about the fundamental role played by the Black Lives Matters movement in establishing a voice for people on this issue and in establishing the action of the Directorate itself, the establishment of the Directorate. Talked about mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. And the Minister was given 35 recommendations to review, please. We also talked about, and several speakers spoke about eliminating carding and expunging the data that has already been collected from the record. Comments were made about addressing the Ontario Public Service and discrimination within places of employment, starting there. Talking about the inter-sectionality of issues and racism, not only in the Black community, which was spoken about a lot, but between different races. Talked about white supremacy. Talked about coming here as though it was the promised land and being supremely disappointed by facing the death of family members and the threat of death constantly looming. We heard it’s not just to decrease, but eliminate systemic racism is key. So many speakers spoke about that. What I did was I made check marks, because I was having trouble keeping up with the writing. You guys were speaking kind of fast. I know I was making you. And this one I thought that speaking out should not be a career limiting move. We talked about increasing the budget. We heard about more consequences for people who discriminate in workplaces and within institutions like the school system, Children’s Aid Society. That people be encouraged to tell the truth about what’s happening. We heard about the healthcare system and people with sickle cell disease and other racialized health issues being respected and treated with respect in the system. We heard a lot about taking action now, about wanting an end to police shootings. We heard about the necessity for a double‑pronged approach of institutional change and public education. We heard a lot about precarious work and the diminishing opportunities for young people who have spent a lot of time and money on their education and then cannot advance. We heard so many things. I'll just close off by saying we also heard about introducing a Bill to make Islamophobia a hate crime.
So I just want to thank everyone for their comments, and I will invite the Minister to wrap up.
>> Thank you so much for your work this evening. I know it’s hard to facilitate a meeting period, but I know that when you're talking about an issue like racism, it becomes very passionate and people want to speak and it’s hard to cut people off, and I just want to say thank you for your work.
I know that there was a comment made at the beginning about us being late. I want people to know at 5:45, we voted at the legislature. We jumped into a car and we got here. It took us about an hour and a half to get here. So I apologize. You know, it’s not our intention to be late. It was just beyond our control. So I apologize for that.
In regards to, you know, there was a couple of things, and I just want to address a piece, because it’s a repetitive piece around the funding for the Anti‑Racism Directorate. We allocated a set amount for staffing. And it was to also hold a consultation, but also to look at a conference and some other items. But we never, ever limited ourselves in regards to how much we could, you know, go out there and use for a public awareness campaign or other items. We go back to Treasury Board or we leverage existing budgets within ministries to do what we want to do. If we want to run a campaign across the province for educational awareness, like what was done for sexual violence against women, we'd go back to the Treasury Board and we would actually request the money that way. But we don't have a business plan yet. We don't have an Action Plan. And when we come forward with that, we will go back and ask for more funding from the Treasury Board. That’s how it works at Queens Park.
I just want to say that, you know, it is people that are here tonight, the politicians that are here, you know, you have folks who are teachers, a nurse, someone who ran a not‑for‑profit organization, a lawyer who was fighting for people’s rights. And I was looking at the five politicians that are here. You know, they have the same stories as people in the room, you know? Four of them are immigrants. You know, my mother cleaned buildings. My father fixed washing machines. That’s what my family did. And I grew up in Flemington Park. I got involved at 29 at the school board, because I wanted to make a difference. You know, I brought forward a motion to collect race‑based data. We took all the jobs that existed and we put them into postal codes where there are kids who are not getting those positions. We brought forward the whole piece around the Afrocentric School. The Premier of Ontario is another person who is an advocate for equity. She brought the first equity policy as the Minister of Education to school boards across the province. So I want you to look at us not as people who stand in the way to accomplish, you know, making changes in society. I want you to see us as people who have come from, I know, working and organizations. I was a youth worker for years in Melbourne here. I ran a literacy organization to help adults read. This is what we do. We help people. And when I first got elected, it wasn't because someone made a comment about, you know, the money we get as politicians. I was elected at $5,000 a year as a school board trustee, you know? When Harris was putting in the changes. So I don't want to put too much emphasis on the fact that we were, I know, working hard and we're from, you know, many of the same places that advocates in this room are from, but you have to understand, we can be your greatest allies, you know? You have a Minister of Education, the first Minister of Education who is of Black, minority, and Jamaican background. You have Yasir Naqvi who is an immigrant from Pakistan, the Attorney General of this province, you know? Sue Wong is a member here, used to be a nurse and is an immigrant as well. We understand it is issues that are brought up tonight, but you have to see us as allies. You cannot see us as people who stand in the way to what we want to accomplish. It’s not what you want to accomplish, what Black Lives Matters wants to accomplish. It’s what we want to accomplish. We're going to make change in government, and I can guarantee you we're going to make changes. And we need our help, and that’s why we're out here asking people for help and advice. So we can look at questions like this and say, you know, what silly questions are there? These questions are there just to guide the conversation. You think, what we're hoping for is just to hear from you, because I'll tell you, if we don't listen and we just do what we're going to do, the next question, like I said at the beginning, will be why didn't you ask us? Why didn't we have the conversation? So I just want to say thank you for your time and thank you for your patience is. And please, help us so we can make Ontario a better place for everyone. Thank you very much.