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The Good Fight
Absolutely honoured and humbled to have the support, guidance, and friendship of these amazing people. I am committed to working with them for a better Toronto. 🧡&💪
Nancy and Lester Brown show up for the NDP, time after time. They are a consistent force for progressive politics and community in Toronto Centre. They’re also a joyful pair, ready to dance, ready to have a drink, and ready to have a laugh. This powerhouse couple are indomitable and ready to engage on the issues that matter here in Toronto Centre. I am pleased to have their guidance and support! The battles for the world we want to see are long, and we have so much to do! Nancy, Lester, and I are ready. Let’s get started!
Poetry has the power to reach deeply into your soul and connect you with words that weave and shape a profound experience. Denise and I bonded over poetry, eager to share in the words of Maya Angelou and Rupi Kaur. These female-identified voices speak words that do the brilliant work of connection. Denise works educating members of the labour movement. Her lived experiences and advocacy are uncompromisingly inclusive. I learn from her and take that knowledge forward with me. Her perspective helps me know how things were, how we have made things better, and how we can yet change the world for the better.
If you’ve ever met Angela, you’ll remember her. She’s a memorable powerhouse who has done a lot of work in the NDP. As campaign manager for Suze Morrison, she led a campaign team to a solid victory and one that I was so proud to play a part in as well. It’s not easy to organize when you’re considered an underdog. It’s not easy to build and support an election team that sets up for success. Angela has. She’s organized, and reminds me to always be at the top of my game!
If you’ve ever met Toni, you know that she is a firebrand. Incredibly smart, she’s a role model in all the communities she works in. There’s a warmth when you’re around her, and an exuberant approach to all the work she does. And then she hits you with some real world talk, when she puts it into context on why we need to do better. Toni’s global experience has shaped her diverse, powerful approach to human rights and diversity. She gave me a painting of Parliament Hill in 2017. With it was a simple note, “You will get there.” We both believe Parliament should be full of diverse, experienced voices. I vow to never let her down, nor the people of Toronto Centre. I will be diverse, unrelenting, and engaged.
Andre is one of those activists and workers in the NDP that I have known for years. We’ve always encountered each other in the battles for social justice and progressive change in and around Toronto. Where we first crossed paths was in student politics at the University of Toronto. Both he and I have been very involved in the fight for justice for students and access to education. Both of us make the connection between post-secondary education and national politics. Post-secondary education is a national issue because it affects the shape of the work and discourse happening in communities. Access to education is a fundamental requirement in the creation of a just and equitable Canada. Throw in access to education for underserved communities and you start to transformationally change cycles of poverty, build people who uplift their communities, and build a society that keeps moving forward. I look forward to working with Andre in fighting for a better Canada and advocating for students, domestic and international.
Jason and I met years ago working to elect a friend in Toronto Centre. Right in this neighbourhood, we both focused in on the same thing — a better future. We’re aligned again and ready to use Toronto Centre as a beacon for LGBTQ2S+, non-binary, diverse, and disabled voices. It really shouldn’t matter whether you are queer, live with a disability, or a facial difference, or whatever your gender might be at that moment. But we live in a world where those are grounds for discrimination, where the quality of your life is negatively affected, and where you have to constantly fight to be seen, to have your health accomodated, and to be given the chance to succeed. I’ve struggled to have my hearing disability recognized in workplaces. I’ve been fired because I was gay and asked for time off to volunteer for the 519 at Pride. We can do so much better. We need to. I promised Jason I would always fight for the disabled. This endorsement will always remind me that I am disabled and I am not alone.
Manna represents a part of Scarborough where I grew up and where my mom lives. She’s a rare thing in Canadian politics, a progressive female, racialized leader. Representation matters because students should be able to look at their elected representatives and see themselves reflected in leadership. Manna is someone I look up to, and I know others do as well. I’ve knocked on doors with Manna, I’ve seen her in action in our communities. Public education is important, no matter where you are in our country. Here in Toronto, alongside Manna, I commit to always being a champion for strong public education.
There aren’t many queer leaders that make it to elected office. There are even fewer racialized queer people who make it. Chris is someone I’ve looked up to since I first learned about him years ago. He was the upstart looking to win Trustee in downtown Toronto. I got involved and realized that he had the right politics, the right approach, and the right identities for a leader. Chris has always been really supportive of my political endeavours and to me, this demonstrates the importance of working together and building together.
A certain conservative writer for the Toronto Sun showed up at an election event during the 2018 provincial election. Sue Ann Levy had an axe to grind and her focus was candidate Jessica Bell. I was on site, working for the central party. Jessica handled herself with amazing poise, precision, and articulation while the media fracas descended on her. It was remarkable and I’ve valued her presence in our community whenever I encounter her. We’ve both been active in the fight for environmental justice and sustainability. Jessica’s work at TTC Riders led her to build solidarity all across the City. Her endorsement reminds me the power of grassroots organizing.
Henry and I met at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation annual conference a few years ago. I remember meeting a professional who was working in a very different type of industry than I was used to, mining. We connected because we talked about the need for representation that reflected the values and reality of racialized people, especially East Asians. As people of Chinese descent, we didn’t feel like the few East Asian politicians reflected the same values as us. We wanted progressive leadership with strong public services and leaders who came from and cared about their neighbourhoods and communities. When I first thought about running, Henry was enthusiastic in his support.
I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic elementary and secondary school in Scarborough. Even in University, I studied Christianity and Culture until 3rd year. It was a way for me to connect to the faith that my parents introduced me to but also the way I learned and developed my commitment to social justice. When Norm and I first met, we had a conversation about the role of faith in politics and how the NDP has long been influenced by Christian ideals of social justice like Tommy Douglas and Cheri DiNovo. We have this conversation from time to time because it is part of building a diverse, beautiful, cosmopolitan society. His endorsement reminds me to always be accepting and humble in spirit.
Kariym and I became friends in University after we were introduced to one another by someone who knew we both shared a facial difference. I’ve come to learn so much about the community of people built around facial differences because of Kariym. He understands the stigma and the struggles of living with a disability better than most. Kariym’s endorsement is a reminder to me to commit to justice for those with disabilities. To ensure that those with disabilities, facial or otherwise, have the support and care they need to live full lives. A facial difference is a physical condition or syndrome affecting the appearance of a person above the neck. I live with a congenital deformity called microtia. My underdeveloped left ear is completed enclosed and I cannot hear from it. I have zero peripheral hearing and struggle to hear people positioned on the wrong side of my head.
Joining the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir was terrifying. I was younger than most of the Choristers when I joined, many years ago. Jennie was one of those people who I got to know early on because she was a lovely, kind soul. Over the years I’ve gotten to know her, we’ve shared about music, we’ve shared about art, and most of all, we’ve shared how community is formed whenever we have music, art, and culture. When we have community, everything else is easier, from solidarity for workers to implementing greener choices, to caring for our neighbours. Jennie and I have worked together as musicians and in the community for years and it isn’t easy to make music with people for that long with people you don’t like. Thankfully, Jennie and I like each other very much.
Craig and I have bumped into each other at Labour events for years now. Our work at different unions has run parallel and intersected at times, and I’ve always been happy when it has. As someone who has worked as a journalist and in communications, Craig understands the importance of messaging and narrative. For me, that’s conveying the values I share, that Craig shares, and ensuring that people in Toronto Centre know that their fights as everyday people are also my fights. And that working together, we can fight for the future we want to see.
Kingsley and I have worked for years together united in our core belief in strong public services. Behind the infrastructure, government, education, and healthcare system are everyday workers doing their best to ensure that Canda keeps moving ahead. Liberals and Conservatives have proven themselves both enemies of everyday working people as they either cut into the very heart of collective action or try to get unions to concede hard-fought gains. At the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, I worked with activists like Kingsley to push for strong public services and against privatization of public assets for private profit. Our communities, our infrastructure, our education, our healthcare, and our government should never be used for gains by the wealthy. I will always stand in solidarity with OPSEU and other labour activists as we fight for a better world.
Every year, the Choristers in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir spend close to 175 hours together rehearsing and performing. This might sound like a lot, but divided into around 60 annual performances, it’s not a lot of rehearsal time for the top-quality music we present. Dan and I became friends very early on when I joined the choir and his endorsement means a lot to me as a person who lives in our community and has created beautiful art in it for decades.
Felicia and I became fast friends just a couple years ago when we got involved in politics in Scarborough. She’s a fierce advocate, smart, savvy, and hard-working. Whether as an activist, or leader, or running for office, Felicia has taught me the importance of working with integrity, standing up for what you believe, and bringing others along with you. As a teacher and a labour professional, Felicia and I both know the value of people coming together in collective action. We’re so much stronger when we stand together than apart. And at the core of coming together is strong public education. Her endorsement reminds me to never stop fighting for the world we need and never settling for less.
Erin Kang is a Goddess. Her masterful ability to weave connections and build community have been felt all over Toronto, but especially in Regent Park where she built a community of Storytellers called Stories of Ours. Both of us are community builders who find ourselves coming into contact over the important intersections of our identities and our cravings for a world of politics, creativity, and spirituality that brings our experiences together in solidarity. We both also really like brunch and Pokémon.
As a racialized person organizing in politics it can be really hard to feel like you are the right person and not an imposter. It often feels like you are working in a system that you don’t belong in. Years ago, I remember Nuvi and I talking about those feelings of not feeling up to the task. After seeing her in action though, I was confident that she was absolutely the right person for the job and I told her that. She was an inspirational leader who organized and built relationships with so many people right across the country and I was so proud to serve with her and learn from her.
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31 Adelaide St E Box 494, Toronto, ON, M5C 1J4