Hussen launches Black History Month in The Star

Ahmed Hussen, our MP, launched Black History Month with an op-ed in The Star.

We all watched in horror last May as, over the course of eight minutes and 46 seconds, George Floyd’s life was ended by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minn. We were also shaken by what we did not see. When an angry mob of mostly white rioters smashed windows and pushed their way into the U.S. Capitol, many of us in the Black community had the same thought: “How would those officers be reacting if that crowd looked like us?”

Here at home, Black Canadians paid close attention to all of this, knowing that we continue to live with racism, discrimination and implicit bias. Young Black Canadian boys are often profiled by law enforcement and Black Muslim women are targeted for their looks and religious clothing. Canada is where the Proud Boys got started, we’re home to the Soldiers of Odin, and not too many weeks pass without a racist incident in the news.

Man wanted for “waving” a “machete”

Toronto Police are looking for a man seen “with a machete, waving it around, screaming at people” at Jane and Lawrence.

There were no injuries.

Comal Y Canela’s Yasmen de Leon in UN Cookbook

Here is a win-win. You can get a copy of Yasmen De Leon’s recipe for tamales, and a Canadian donor will give to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Just released to mark UNHCR’s 70th anniversary, “Tastes from Home” is filled with more than 100 pages of beautiful photos and recipes, each shared by a resilient individual who left their country of origin to make a home in Canada. This is your opportunity to experience the rich cultural backgrounds and traditions of former refugees through the food that has special meaning to them.

The beautiful digital cookbook also contains recipes from our MP, Ahmed Hussen.

Yasmen De Leon is the genius behind Comal Y Canela, the best Mexican restaurant in Toronto.

Fire at Weston and Victoria

A two-alarm fire on Thursday at Weston and Victoria Avenue led to no injuries, but did lead to some remarkable video of a man climbing out a window to escape the fire.

Priority neighbourhoods push for priority vaccines

The CBC has a long article on an interesting idea: early access to vaccines in communities that have been hurt most by the COVID pandemic.

Michelle Joseph of Unison Health & Community Services, in Weston–Mount Dennis, spoke to the CBC about getting access to the vaccines once the the vaccines are rolled out to the general public.

Joseph says the barriers are built-in and hard to overcome. Tight living conditions are one issue. So is poverty and lack of paid sick leave. Many people here tend to have multiple jobs that compound the risk of exposure, and they can’t afford to miss work if they don’t feel well.

Early access to vaccines here is a shield of protection that is desperately needed.

“These communities are often left behind,” Joseph said. “It’s very important that we ensure that they are not forgotten. And in this case, because they are experiencing a disproportional level of COVID and also the impacts of COVID economically, then we should make sure that they’re a priority.”

The article is worth a read—and a long think.

Planning survey in Mount Dennis

The city wants your input on the greatest (and not greatest) parts of Mount Dennis. They have a really neat (and deep) website that asks you to drag pins to the parts of the community you’d like to comment on. You can also review other people’s thoughts.

There is also a survey of proposed community plans (including high- and mid-density housing), streetscapes, and festivals; and another survey of that allows for longer comments on your ideas for the future of Mount Dennis.