Statement on racist incidents in Toronto

This has been a deeply distressing week.  A white man hurled racist insults and threats at a racialized person on a TTC streetcar.  A teenager in the Greater Toronto Area, posting under an alias, produced racist videos that have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Posters promoting white supremacist ideology appeared near an elementary school in East York.  All of these incidents highlight the need for us to vigorously oppose the racism, xenophobia, and homophobic violence that have been on the increase with Donald Trump’s election as US President last week.

Some characterize the reason for Trump’s rise as “economic anxiety.” Stable, well-paying jobs are much harder to find and keep. People are working longer hours for lower wages. Parents are worried about how they will provide for their children. Trump and his supporters are pushing the false narrative that racialized people are the ones to blame for increasing poverty and economic instability. But unemployment and precarious work are hurting people of all ethnicities, especially people of colour.

There is a great deal of anger in the air. This anger is justified, but we must be clear about where to direct it. Toronto is the inequality capital of Canada. A small number of Canadians benefit from access to inherited wealth, have access to government, and control the country’s major corporations, including the media. Internationally, those forcing many into poverty, poisoning our Earth as they do so, are the wealthiest and most powerful. They are the ones who run the transnational corporations, looting our shared resources to enrich themselves and their friends, shifting the costs onto the most vulnerable among us.

To take this anger  out on our neighbours — our Muslim neighbours, our Black neighbours, our Latinx neighbours, our LGBTQ+ neighbours — is wrong.

There’s a lot of work to be done to move our communities out of poverty, and toward fairness, equity, and mutual respect. Anger and violence against our neighbours because of their skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status have no place in this work.

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations strongly condemns discriminatory and inflammatory statements by President-Elect Trump and his supporters. We further denounce the endorsement of these views by Member of Parliament and Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, as well as the racist and discriminatory actions taken by those who hold these views.

We must stand up against racism and discrimination. Let us channel our anger and fear toward fighting for a Canada — and a world — that  we can be proud of.

UARR Board of Directors

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