Londoners deserve new municipal leadership that adequately addresses the issues of housing, roads, civic services. We also deserve to live in a city where people live and thrive without fear or intimidation.
For racialized people, issues of equity and social challenges in London are especially important since there is an atmosphere that has given rise to hate crimes, harassment and microaggressions. There is no space for the injection of sentiments of discrimination, intolerance, Islamophobia and other forms of xenophobia into our civic discourse.
As Londoner, as an equity educator, and as a young Black Muslim woman, I understand the need for a united London that is safe and prosperous for every kind of Londoner. We need to move from language of tolerance and symbolic inclusion and move to making city hall a place that has a wide variety of lived experiences making decisions.
Londoners want to live in a city that is safe and inclusive. In order to build an inclusive city, we need to commit to strong public services that ensure:
• Accessibility for people with disabilities
• Strategies for equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism and diversity
• Preventive approaches to community safety and security
I have long been involved in connecting Londoners and advocating for vulnerable communities. During my years at Western University I was involved in connecting students and Londoners through the Organizing Equality Student Coalition. I facilitated workshops on contentious issues and advocated with my fellow students and negotiated with the university to create a more inclusive environment for all students.
For several years I have done extensive work in doing equity education for a wide variety of communities. I teach people about my lived experience and I bring unique insight to consultations on policy.
In 2017, I was selected as a community champion for diversity and inclusion in London. I was consulted on the development of London’s Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategic plan and became a part of the steering committee that developed the plan (https://www.london.ca/city-
A lot of Londoners care and it shows every time there is an anti- hate counter rally; they show up and stand against racism, bigotry and hatred.
As a city councillor I would use my experience in cultural and anti oppression education to open up different cultural spaces and associations so we can create events that provide community members with the opportunity to engage and learn about these issues. People need the language and tools to be able to fight oppression, and that is where I would start. Education. Once you have the knowledge of these issues, it’s easier to deconstruct negative and inaccurate media representations of different faiths.
London, and more specifically, Ward 12 has a diverse and growing population and a huge number of refugees. Having worked in these unique, racialized and marginalized communities that I am also from, I know that representing this population will require unique skill sets. One of these skills that sets me apart is being fluent in Arabic. This assists me in navigating and understanding the needs of residents because is the second most spoken language in the ward. I have seen the relief and appreciation on peoples faces when canvassing.
To ensure we hear as much feedback as possible, I make sure to have volunteers with different language skills out with us each time we canvass because everyone deserves to have their voice heard. We have canvassers that speak English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. I do this because I am committed to magnifying each voice. As a councillor, I will continue to use methods like those used in my campaign to make sure people have information that is easily accessible in their language. This is especially relevant when providing information to new immigrants and refugees about settlement and what resources are available for them in London. I support the development of newcomers within the workforce through credential and professional experience recognition. This is a huge barrier to new comer success and should be removed.
I am running because I know London has much potential and I can see us being a leader in our region for equity practices. I believe in the capacity and value of each person in London to contribute to this vision. I have the education, drive, vision, and determination to improve London and get Londoners to feel a sense of togetherness. My first-hand experience and connections to the communities across London have given me the skills to be an effective representative for Ward 12.