Written by: Stephen Mensah, from For Youth Initiative
My vision for the city of Toronto is one of love and not hate; it is one of life and not death, one of prosperity and not poverty. I believe there is no such thing as a perfect city, but I do believe in a growing city where communities not only come together in times of hardship but also successes. A city where no parent has to worry about their child getting murdered on the streets because of a “mistaken identity” or assaulted or injured by another’s actions.
This is possible for the city of Toronto. Most times, a crime is committed before it can be prevented and that is not our fault. But maybe it could have been with more cameras in neighborhoods and with police officers fostering a better relationship with communities. So that when these crimes are committed we can not only ensure, but also produce results for the victims and their families.
As mayor of Toronto the first issue I will tackle will be public safety. Be it gun violence, reckless driving, impaired driving by alcohol or drugs or any other act that threatens the safety of the public. The number of deaths that occur due to these crimes are a lot and are growing rapidly in our city. This issue is important to me because I believe the basis of our day to day living is based on how safe we believe we are. Those who don’t feel safe and are scared or those who’ve lost a family member in a car accident or a drive by shooting, may to change their way of living as a result of this. I
I personally feel I have been blessed not to have someone in my family or close relations die due to violence in our community or die due to reckless driving. However I know others who have been affected, I have seen it and continue to see it on the news time and time again. Hearing their stories and seeing the pain and agony in the faces of parents and siblings and friends as they speak, is extremely heart wrenching. No one deserves to experience that.
I would address this issue by requesting the federal government to ban guns, adding more cameras in our communities, requesting that the provincial and federal government increase the punishment for those heinous crimes. As to deter others in the future who have those intentions of committing those crimes. As mayor I would also expand and provide more funding for more community organizations who tackle those issues. Youth can help address this issue by getting involved in community organizations and volunteering and by telling their friends and making the right choices.
Youth can begin by being good leaders and not good followers of bad people. Together we can change the way Torontonians live and create a safe and healthy environment for us all to live in, in peace and unity.
The “If I Were Mayor” blog series profiles the ideas of youth and rising leaders from across the GTHA as a way to add their voices to the municipal conversation. Posts have been curated by CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network, For Youth Initiative, Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto Youth Cabinet, Citizen Empowerment Project, Young Women’s Leadership Network, and the Centre for Community and Immigration Services. The views contained in this post are the author’s and are not reflective of CivicAction or the CivicAction Leadership Foundation.