By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
East Toronto residents used art and activism to publicly denounce racism following an incident at a construction site at Michael Garron Hospital.
On June 10, two nooses were found at an EllisDon construction site at the hospital. While the hospital, EllisDon, and elected officials were quick to condemn the incident – the community responded in its own way.
It started two days after when a local family, with kids Eleanor, 6, and Arthur, 8, made a homemade sign of solidarity and support. The sign read “Black Lives Matter, We Stand With You.”
The hospital welcomed the sign which was placed at the same construction site fencing on Sammon Avenue.
“Our school and our parents taught us about Black Lives Matter and we heard about the sad thing that happened at MGH so we wanted to help,” six-year-old Eleanor said.
Soon after, more residents started making homemade signs and banners.
Over the last weekend, several of them were posted on the construction fencing, led by local business owner Zahra of Old’s Cool General Store in East York.
“We all need to heal from this violent act of racism. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to do this need to know that we see you and we will not let this go unnoticed. The tide is turning on racism,” she said.
The hospital declared full support of the displays and welcomed the messaging with MGH CEO Sarah Downey calling the art and banners “a big, supportive hug.”
The art and signs will remain on the fencing for the month of July.
Toronto police’s Hate Crime Unit is investigating the incident with assistance from EllisDon.
Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call 55 Division at 416-808-5500 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477 or online at https://www.222tips.com
A community forum called Fighting Hate in the East End will take place tonight (June 30) to discuss the incident and ways residents can stand up against racism. For more information on tonight’s forum, please see our earlier story at https://www.beachmetro.com/2020/06/29/fighting-hate-in-the-east-end-forum-set-for-june-30/
- Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.