To many of us safety and security are not the reality

Across the city, we are hearing more and more about gun violence.

For those of us that have been impacted by this kind of violence, we are flooded with painful memories each time we hear about a new incident. As a young man growing up in Rexdale, I buried friends. Years later as a leader working with youth in our community, I watched young people bury their friends. It hurt. It still hurts today. If this is what you want your city to fight for, join our movement here.

One thing is clear. We need community-based, localized and intentional strategies to address gun violence. In my community of York South-Weston, we are working locally. We know what the impact has been on our families. Important conversations and actions are happening but it’s not enough. While we need a grassroots approach, it must be part of a city-wide strategy, driven by parents and community leaders, that includes non-profit organizations, private sector, schools and religious institutions. To be effective, this cannot be a strategy led or written by city staff who don't know what it's like to be in our shoes. It has to come from our communities. As your City Councillor I would push for such a strategy so we can ensure safer communities for all of our families.

We need to find better ways for the City to support local communities to implement their own approaches that are linked to a city-wide strategy. If elected, I am committed to launching local community safety committees that will work together to build a plan that includes educators, youth, and parents. Our local police services would work closely with each community safety committee to understand neighbourhood priorities and concerns.

How could we make this happen? That’s a conversation we need to start having.

We also need to look at the causes of violence. What role does poverty play? Young people need opportunities to work and be engaged. They need their parents to spend time with them; not working three or four part-time jobs that combined still don’t pay a living wage. Parents need affordable childcare and housing.

What tools does the City have to address these issues? That’s the kind of conversation we need our councillors to start having and that's the kind of conversation I'll push for at City Hall.

If this is what you want your city to fight for, join our movement here.

It's time for a change that's informed by you and working for you.