"Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Many people who care about our city and work and write and fight to fix its problems say things like, “the system is broken.” I’m not one of those people. I believe the system is working exactly how it’s meant to work. It favours our most wealthy people and businesses, and even the services our city provides that appear to be about creating an equitable city are there to benefit the status quo. Public transit carries people to work for those businesses and relieves traffic so commerce can move freely on our highways. Employment programs and city colleges train people to work for those same businesses, and in the meanwhile they aren’t counted in the unemployment statistics to give the politicians a big win. Stay woke fam.
But there’s one “service” that does need fixing. Here’s the third installment of Things I Want For Toronto In 2018.
“Give ‘til it hurts.” Kirk Tulloch, co-owner, Onyx Barbers
Toronto is a wealthy city, but it seems the wealthier it gets, the more people get left behind. Just like every other social issue, the shrinking of Toronto’s middle class, outrageous real estate prices and our dependence on precarious employment have affected Black Torontonians the most, especially young people.
As someone who’s spent nearly a decade working in the community as a volunteer, coach and social service worker, I’m just about burnt out. What we’re doing isn’t working, and I’ve come to the realization that my work and everyone else’s has only served to sustain the system we work in and uphold the status quo. This year is as good a year as any to finally start working for ourselves. Here is the second of five Things I Want For Toronto in 2018.
“I love America more than any other country in the world, and for exactly this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” -James Baldwin
Toronto is the best city in the world, but if you love it, you’ll see its warts along with its beauty. Its smooth new streetcars and its jam-packed subways and highways. Its bustling downtown neighbourhoods and its increasingly isolated and impoverished suburbs. Its skyscraping condos and its crumbling public housing. Rose-coloured glasses get nothing done in a fast-growing city, and the inactivity that our city’s leaders are known for has left us struggling to catch up.
Every year feels like a turning point for Toronto, but with city and provincial elections coming up, 2018 really is an important year. Here is the first of three things that the city needs in the one-eight.
Back in 2016, my good friend Geoff asked me to write and read something for his young son Langston at his baby dedication (or christening, as some call it). I struggled to come up with something at first, but during an emotional week the following piece tumbled out of me on the subway on the way to work. It might be the most important thing I ever wrote, and I can't wait until my guy Langy is old enough to understand it. (My own godson Diego is pictured above)