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Hockey by all accounts is perhaps one of the least diverse in terms of people of colour. Despite efforts to date to be an open and more inclusive sport, racism in hockey, unfortunately still exists at all levels. In recent years, however, it has reached disturbing levels both on and off the ice.

Before the age of 5, Abdilahi Elmi had seen dead bodies and witnessed war in Somalia. He fled with his family to Canada in 1994, where he was taken into the child welfare system at the age of 13 following physical, psychological and emotional abuse. He struggled with trauma and lack of supports which led him to cross over into the criminal justice system as happens to so many youth with backgrounds of abuse and neglect.

In his 2005 essay “How to Write About Africa,” Binyavanga Wainaina says sardonically: “In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don’t get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book.”

Standing in the intersection of Queen and Bay Streets during the Raptors Championship parade rally on Monday, I was focused on the screen set up for public viewing in front of Old City Hall. Mayor John Tory was giving his speech about the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors on behalf of the people of the city. Two million cheering people were on the streets and the place was ablaze with joy, revelry and celebration.

Last night, the Toronto Raptors made franchise history by beating the Golden State Warriors and winning the NBA Championships for the first time. It’s a surreal moment for Raptors fans who have been courtside for 24 years.

For decades in Toronto, Black TLGBQ (trans, lesbian, gay, bi, queer) people have found it necessary to create spaces and events which represent and welcome Black TLGBQ people. 

There will be Pride celebrations held from the largest of cities to the smallest of towns across Canada during the month of June. I will be celebrating my first Pride in Waterloo Region this year. It already feels and looks different. To begin with, I have only met one other Black and LGBTQI2S+ identified person since moving here. I know there are more. I have seen them at small events and in Facebook groups, but I don’t know any of them personally.

A sunny day in July 2016 was the most meaningful time I’ve ever missed the bus in Toronto. Instead of waiting 40 minutes until the next one, I decided to order an Uber. A lovely middle-aged woman from Zimbabwe arrived within a few minutes. We had a long, in-depth conversation about rideshare driving, flexibility to choose her own hours and driving as a woman. I enjoy driving and was desperate to find a better replacement for my toxic job, working overnights at a restaurant. Our conversation convinced me to quit that job and one month later, I became an Uber…

If you woke up in remote proximity to the NBA and the Toronto Raptors, you know that history was made last night. The Toronto Raptors qualified for the NBA finals for the first time in franchise history. The NBA Finals will be played outside of the United States for the first time in history.

In April, Ancestry ran an ad that attracted a lot of negative attention as it aimed to target both white and Black consumers.

 

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