Photo credit: Khaleel Seivwright, GoFundMe
Dear Mayor Tory,
FoodShare’s mission is to realize a Toronto where everyone can feed themselves, their loved ones, and their community with dignity and joy. Safe, permanent, affordable and dignified housing is central to a justice-oriented approach to tackling the food inequities that exist in our city. We live in the biggest city in one of the richest countries in the world, yet members of our communities continue to be deprived of basic human rights like access to food and housing.
We have seen how readily people across Toronto are stepping up to provide support to food insecure Torontonians. They’re also stepping up to support their houseless neighbours in their fight to stay safe this winter. Homeless folks who are forced to choose between overcrowded and under resourced shelters that are struggling with COVID outbreaks, or temporary and inadequate housing options that are not in their community, are choosing to live in encampments because they feel that it is their safest option.
While we really wish that he didn’t have to do it, we’ve been inspired by the commitment and leadership of Khaleel Seivwright, and many other residents, who have been building tiny shelters and organizing to support our homeless neighbours in surviving through the winter— this work is critical and urgent.
As a Cree woman and a Black man, we are members of communities that continue to have food insecurity, housing insecurity and poverty disproportionately foisted upon us. Our communities are doing what we can to support each other as we navigate these gross inequities. We write to you today because we are deeply disheartened by the actions of the City. We have come to learn that the City seeks to punish and criminalize Khaleel Seivwright, a Black leader, for stepping up to fill a service gap that our elected officials are obligated to fill.
We ask that you work with City staff to drop the injunction, and redirect the resources allocated to pursuing legal action against Mr. Seivwright towards increasing immediate access to dignified shelter alternatives for Toronto’s homeless population.
Crystal Sinclair, Board Chair Paul M. Taylor, Executive Director