Demonstration against anti-Black racism at Michael Garron Hospital construction site set for Friday morning

After the first anti-Black racism incident in June, the community put messages against racism on the Sammon Avenue wall of the construction site.

East Toronto community members will be holding a demonstration and leafletting event against anti-Black racism on the morning of Friday, Oct. 9.

The protest is being held in the wake of a number of racist incidents that have taken place at the Michael Garron Hospital expansion construction site in East York over the past few months.

The Friday morning demonstration will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the corner of Coxwell and Sammon avenues, which is the location of the hospital construction site.

The Toronto East Anti-hate Mobilization team and Community Solidarity Against Racism in Construction (CSARC) are organizing the event.

East end residents in Toronto are angry that anti-Black hate crimes persist at the construction site of the new wing of the Michael Garron Hospital, said a press release announcing Friday’s demonstration.

On Oct. 2, racist graffiti towards Black construction workers was found on the site. In June, employees found two nooses at the site, and on Sept. 24, another incident involving a noose took place.

“For the second time, nooses have been found on the EllisDon construction site at Michael Garron Hospital,” said Zahra Dhanani, who organized an earlier community response in which residents left messages against racism around the hospital after the June incident.

“The threat of racist violence that the nooses represent harshly impacts racialized workers and communities, and we as a community refuse to accept this. Torontonians are entitled to safe workplaces free from threats and terror,” said Dhanani in the release announcing the Oct. 9 demonstration.

The demonstration’s organizers will be distributing information on Friday morning to workers and neighbours about workers’ rights to enjoy a workplace free from harassment and racism.

The incidents at the hospital expansion, are not the only ones in which anti-Black racism has been discovered at construction sites in Toronto this year.

Nooses were also found at sites at Dundas and Sumach streets on June 26, and at 81 Bay St. on June 25.

“We’ve been assured that the company is taking this seriously but it’s clearly not doing enough,” said Dhanani of the incidents. “We demand action. The Ministry of Labour, which is required to oversee workplaces and ensure that they are free from harassment and violence, have done nothing since it has come to public attention that construction sites are notorious for racist harassment and toxicity as symbolized by the seven nooses that have been found on construction sites within months.”

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