Residents have gathered to denounce anti-Black racism after several nooses were found at three construction sites in Toronto recently and to call for systemic change.
“We’re here to say that kind of hate crime is not going to be tolerated by the community. We will not accept that kind of hatred any longer,” Zahra Dahnani, an organizer of the solidarity stand-in at Regent Park, told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
“We are standing in solidarity as community, as people who care, as people who are committed to justice to say that things got to change and it’s time — the time is now.”
On June 10, crews located nooses at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site operated by EllisDon. The nooses were reported to have been found where two Black workers were stationed.
On Thursday, the company said another noose was found at a work site it co-manages with Govan Brown at 81 Bay St. in the Financial District.
A day later, The Daniels Corporation said another noose was discovered at a construction site on Dundas Street East in Regent Park.
Dahnani said the noose is a particularly vulgar emblem of anti-Black racism.
“We see it everywhere. If you look at the top layers of any executive, all you’ll see is white faces. What does that mean? That the only competent people to lead are white? It’s not OK and things have got to change.”
As for who is behind the placement of the nooses, Dahnani said the incidents are troubling and that education is needed at a broader level.
“I’m so absolutely, completely disgusted that a person would go to a store, buy a rope, find out how to tie a noose and then go to a site where there’s Black workers and specifically put up this sign and symbol of hatred. What is wrong with that person, but what is wrong with our society that we continue to create people like that?” she said.
“It’s on us to create better people and to help people like that unlearn what’s been systemically and historically the teaching that it’s OK to violate Black people. It’s not.”
Dahnani said it is incumbent on construction companies to “stop the pain” and take action. She called for greater accountability and change, citing reported incidents of racism and misogyny at construction sites.
EllisDon and The Daniels Corporation in statements denounced the incidents. Meanwhile, Toronto police said the incidents are being investigated as hate crimes.
— With files from Albert Delitala