Thank you for your raising such an important issue. I have received many emails and phone calls from concerned residents, I have listened, and your message is loud and clear: our system needs to change.
Allow me to begin by saying that I have been inspired by the large mobilization of people who are taking a strong stand against the injustices that are prevalent in our society. Our democratic values were on display when people of this city came together to peacefully protest this righteous cause. Your actions and strong voices to oppose anti-black racism and systemic racism will reshape our world for the better.
There is no doubt that police reform is essential and fighting racism is the moral imperative of our time. As a community representative, I represent all of the York Centre voices. If York Centre residents do not feel safe, I will fight to ensure their safety as I have been doing so for years:
I successfully advocated for the modernization and update of the City of Toronto Anti-discrimination Policy, voted in favour of the Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, was a leading contributor to the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Plan, supported the Youth Equity Strategy, and passed a comprehensive policy to prevent hate rallies to take place on City property. I was the founding school Board Trustee for the Africentric Alternative School and initiated the ceremonial naming of University Avenue “Nelson Mandela Way.”
However, in the fight against racism we can never be complacent. I will continue my commitment to listen to the community and understand what is needed to combat structural racism. This fight against systemic racism will have to be a collaborative one in order to see real substantive change.
We must work together to fight systemic racism. Over the course of this week and moving forward, I am working with Mayor John Tory and my colleagues on a plan that addresses systemic racism, increases police accountability, and saves lives. There is no reason to delay, we have to seize this moment and implement long lasting changes. The time to act is now. I will continue to be on the side of fighting anti-black and other forms of racism.
Sincerely, James Pasternak Councillor, Ward 6 York Centre
About James Pasternak
Councillor James Pasternak has represented York Centre (Ward 6) in Toronto City Council since 2010. He sits on the Mayor’s Executive Committee and Chairs the Infrastructure and Environment Committee as well as the Chair of North York Community Council.