This week there is an occupation at the Toronto Police headquarters on College Street. While this protest may be new, the call to action certainly is not. Black Lives Matter, community outreach workers, and our own mental health agencies have been telling us for some time that something is wrong. The message is clear to me: Black, Indigenous and racialized minorities, especially those suffering from mental illness, too often die as a result of their interactions with authorities.
We are regularly reminded of the gaps in our system and Toronto needs to work with the communities affected to do its part in making change happen. We can only improve the systems that are intended to serve and protect us by involving everyone in the solution-making. In the hopes of creating the space for this, I invite the Black Lives Matter organizers to meet with City Councillors, Chief Mark Saunders, and members of the Toronto Police Services Board, and representatives from provincial agencies working on mental health issues for an honest conversation at City Hall on how Toronto polices its citizens and how we can do better to save lives. My office and I stand ready to facilitate this focused and face-to-face meeting.