In September 2017, a dozen activists who have been involved in grassroots political work in Toronto for decades came together to talk about building the city we deserve. Each of us had come to the conclusion separately that we needed to create a forum for groups in the city to come together and speak to each other. We did not know what would come out of it, but we trusted the social movements in the city to have the answers.
Over winter of 2017, and the spring of 2018, nearly 100 activists from across the city participated in meetings to discuss challenges, obstacles and visions. Out of these discussions, we created a vision statement and held our first public forum in March of 2018. At the forum, we created space for many transformative initiatives in Toronto to tell their own stories and to share and assess the vision statement.
The provincial context changed suddenly with the election of the ultra-right Ford government. Not only did the coming attacks on our communities become intensely clear, but also our urgent need to build stronger collaborative resistance, and to prepare a long game plan.
Through discussion, we heard from many grassroots, unfunded and radical organizations in Toronto, about our need to collaborate and coordinate our efforts. Many insisted that the city was always the terrain of our struggle, even if our policy demands were to whichever level of government was responsible. We began to compile the policy asks and visions of each of these organizations which has now become our platform.
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The RadTO Collective
You and I live here, in this city, among many.
We care about this place – the streets, the parks, the schools. We care about our neighbours.
We care about those struggling to pay rent, those trying to survive on low wages and debt, and those waiting for the bus. We care about those who are criminalized or dehumanized by city services. We care about the health of those who rely on safe injection sites. We care about the waters, local ecologies and the warming of the climate.
Together we can make this city a place of justice and care. A city committed to green infrastructure, housing, energy and jobs, and the creativity and safety of Black, Indigenous and racialized people, women, Two Spirit, queer and nonbinary people. A city that serves all residents based on need, without discrimination.
We want this city to live up to its extraordinary potential. We want to honor the Treaties that govern these lands and their commitments to shared resources and stewardship.
This is possible--now.
Together we can transform the city. Together we can build the city we desire. The city we deserve. The city we fight for.