Today, Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto is making multiple investments in Toronto’s Black arts and culture community and business sector to address the systemic economic, social and cultural exclusion facing Black communities in Toronto.
Mayor Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the City’s Economic and Community Development Committee as well as Alica Hall, Executive Director of Nia Centre for the Arts, and Ashley McKenzie-Barnes, prominent Toronto artist, creative director and independent curator.
In addition to specific, targeted investments spanning business and culture, Mayor Tory also committed to establish a Community Accountability Circle, with key leaders from the Black business and cultural communities to co-develop goals and programs to confront anti-Black racism.
This year, the City will make the following investments in arts, heritage and creative industries to confront anti-Black Racism:
The City will also make the following economic development investments to confront anti-Black racism:
Since January, the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and Economic Development and Culture division have been developing opportunities to increase support for Toronto’s Black creative communities. Today’s immediate commitments, aligned with the City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Action Plan, will support broader City-wide efforts to confront anti-Black racism and address Black community needs, which have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City recognizes the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 to 2024). The Decade was established as a way for the international community to recognize people of African descent as a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. The goals of the Decade are recognition, justice and development.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“I am proud to announce these new initiatives which directly impact our Black creative community and will help provide opportunities for Black artists in our city. It is important that as a city we look at finding ways to address systemic racism within the services we provide. For many years, there has not been a focus on how we can deliver our services better and through a more equitable and inclusive lens. This announcement will change that by shifting our focus to address the gaps we are seeing in funding for the development of Black artists and the Black community.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory
“Through our Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit along with City divisions, we are identifying and supporting initiatives that help Toronto’s Black residents, businesses, community organizations, and arts and heritage sectors to overcome systemic disadvantages and more fairly share in the City’s success.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.