Posts Tagged ‘racism’
Torontoist reposted a Jamie Bradburn Historicist feature from 2013 describing how Toronto contributed to the fight against South African apartheid, culminating in Mandela’s triumphant 1990 visit to the city.
At first glance, the space above Asteria Souvlaki Place at 292A Danforth Ave. drew little attention to itself. Until February 11, 1990, its occupants were happy to keep it that way. Not advertising to the world that this was the local office of the African National Congress (ANC) was intended to protect staff from potential harm. When word arrived that day from South Africa that Nelson Mandela was free after over 27 years of imprisonment, 292A Danforth went public by offering itself as a place for Torontonians to celebrate the news.
Politicians and union leaders spoke to over 1,000 people gathered on the street that evening. Mayor Art Eggleton, who had proclaimed February 11 as Nelson Mandela Day, told the crowd that “the people of Toronto have joined with freedom-loving people the world over.” Chants of “Long live Mandela” rose from Danforth Avenue.
Mandela’s release was viewed as a positive sign in the battle against South Africa’s apartheid policy, a fight for which Toronto was a hotbed of activity during the 1980s. Boycotts and divestitures of holdings in companies with ties to South Africa became the norm for educational institutions. Protests targeted businesses that continued to operate in the increasingly demonized country. The Toronto Board of Education organized annual anti-apartheid conferences for high-school students.
One high-profile effort during this period was the Toronto Arts Against Apartheid Festival. Poet Ayanna Black raised the idea during a United Way of Greater Toronto Black development committee meeting earlier in the year. “We wanted to galvanize the community and emphasize this was something to concern everyone, not just blacks,” she told the Star. A foundation for the Toronto Arts Against Apartheid Festival, headed by Toronto Board of Education consultant Lloyd McKell, began working on who should appear. They secured singer Harry Belafonte as honorary chairman and scheduled an appearance by 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. Though criticism of its perceived involvement in a political activity forced the United Way to change its role from festival sponsor to supporter, the charitable organization continued to play a key organizing role.
Torontoist’s Andrea Houston and the Ryersonian’s post were just two links noting a protest Thursday by anti-Muslim activists outside of a mosque downtown on Dundas Street West. One thing that the social media coverage of the event highlighted, which was nice, was that random passersby confronted the activists on the street.
More than a dozen people gathered outside a mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto with loudspeakers and banners in hand, shouting slogans about banning Islam as Muslims gathered to pray inside.
The protest happened Friday outside Masjid Toronto on Dundas Street West near University Avenue.
The shouting was so loud that Tera Goldblatt, who works on the 21st floor in a nearby building, said she could hear it from inside her office.
When she came down to see what was going on, she said, she saw some 15 people screaming, some blocking the path of those trying to enter the mosque.
“The response from the people who were trying to get inside was very sort of ‘Oh well, they’re entitled to their opinion’ and ‘Oh well, I guess that’s just part of life,'” Goldblatt said.
CBC News’ Alexandra Sienkiewicz looks at the long history of the Badminton and Racquet Club destroyed by fire, noting–among other things–a conservatism that once extended down to barring non-white males from membership.
When a devastating fire swept through the 90-year-old Badminton and Racquet Club near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue Tuesday afternoon, the organization added yet another chapter to its storied history.
The club opened in 1924 when the old TTC streetcar barns on St. Clair Avenue were converted into seven badminton courts. The B & R, as it’s affectionately known among those who use it, started with only a few members from Toronto’s elite — but has since grown to include more than 2,750 members. To this day, it remains a private facility and access can be gained by membership only.
The club has also been known for its history of segregation of the sexes. It wasn’t until 1980 that women were allowed to sit in on board meetings — but without voting rights. “Women are to be seen and not heard,” says the club’s website in describing that period of its history.
“The idea of women on the board had been rejected annually as many of the men on the board felt that the “right kind of man” would not serve if there were women at the table,” it adds.
It was only in 1997 when men and women could sit together when a co-ed dining room was introduced — nearly 75 years after the club’s opening.