‘Artivists’ spread message against hate after Toronto noose incidents

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‘Artivists’ spread message against hate after Toronto noose incidents
In the wake of several racist incidents involving nooses found at Toronto construction sites, community members are spreading their own message. – Jun 27, 2020

Posters and artwork with messages against hate are quickly accumulating along a wall at an east Toronto hospital construction site, just weeks after nooses were found at the same location.

“This isn’t much. It’s a token gesture, but it’s something,” said Lindsay Bess, who painted colourful designs between the anti-racism posters plastered along the construction boarding.

On June 10, crews located nooses at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site operated by EllisDon. They were reported to have been found where two Black workers were stationed.

On Thursday, the company found another noose, it said, this time at a work site it co-manages with Govan Brown at 81 Bay Street in the Financial District.

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Meanwhile, at a construction site on Dundas Street East in Regent Park on Friday, The Daniels Corporation said it discovered another noose.

“Surprise isn’t the right word. Deeply shocked, disturbed,” said Valery Woloshyn, who attended the Michael Garron site to put up homemade posters with her son, Nkoni Backo, 6, who is mixed race.

“He asks questions like, ‘Why did that happen?’ It’s really hard to answer,” she said.

“You can say it’s not fair, it’s not right and people are making really terrible choices.”

Activist Zahra Dhanani, who organized the artivism wall, said she hopes people in the community and beyond get the message that hate toward anyone cannot be accepted, especially when it’s directed at the most marginalized members.

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“It is saying, every one of that identity (must) beware, be afraid and your identity is wrong,” she said.

Dhanani added it is important for the community to rise up whenever a hate crime happens.

In a statement, Sarah Downey, the president and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital, said, “Our community has shown an outpouring of support for the two Black construction workers who were targeted, and their colleagues who are so affected by this terrible incident.”

“We encourage being united against hate and want to thank our community for this visible act of support,” she added.

Local city councillor Paula Fletcher said the display shows the community’s true spirit.

“The community’s coming out saying we are a community dedicated to love, we’re united against hate,” she said.

Anyone can leave messages against hate on the wall until Sunday at 8 p.m.

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