Mayor John Tory says that the city is working towards holding an open public meeting on ”equity” issues with individuals and groups, including Black Lives Matter.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, Tory called Toronto a ”proudly diverse city” but added that we ”still struggle with issues of racial equity, discrimination and trust.”
The Mayor says that these challenges ”have been called out by many important voices, including the recent actions of the group Black Lives Matter” and to that end he says he is ”committed to engaging with with this group and all those working toward meaningful change.”
The announcement comes following a 15 day demonstration held by members of Black Lives Matter last month outside Toronto Police Headquarters on College Street, to protest the decision taken by the Province’s police watchdog, the SIU, not to pursue charges against the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Andrew Loku last year.
Mayor Tory had offered to meet the group behind closed doors on five occasions following this protest, but each invitation was declined by the group who wanted a public meeting.
Tory now says the open meeting, a date for which has not yet been set, will give groups including Black Lives Matter ”an opportunity to share their concerns, their frustrations and their ideas” and that these ”important perspectives will help our City divisions and services with their on-going equity efforts in areas including social development, youth engagement, poverty reduction and policing.”
Meanwhile, the Mayor and Police Chief Mark Saunders are set to hold a meeting on these issues with leaders from the city’s black community this coming weekend.
In conclusion, Tory says that ”no one should feel left out, marginalized, targeted or unsafe in Toronto. Addressing these issues will take time and effort, and I look forward to hearing from the public as we continue this important work.”