Mammo loves his press releases.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) is really bummed about this year’s recipient of the William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations: Black Lives Matter Toronto.
The award, whose namesake was the son of a Virginian-born slave and helped found the Toronto Hydro electric system, celebrates Black Torontonians who have made positive contributions to the city and its racial climate. In the past year, BLM has brought to the fore several issues facing Black Torontonians, including the systemic violence inflicted upon the community that has often been overlooked. While controversial in its methods—stopping traffic on an expressway during rush hour, or staging a sit-in during the Pride Parade—BLM has worked to create visibility for the city’s Black communities.
But, according to Mammoliti, congratulating the group “is the wrong thing to do.”
In a nearly unreadable press release littered with grammatical errors sent yesterday afternoon, Mammoliti says he has asked the City’s Equity, Diversity, and Human Rights staff for a list of other candidates for the award. That request was denied, so he has asked Council to go in camera to request it on his behalf.
“[Mammoliti] echo’s [sic] sediments [sic] of prominent leaders of the Black community such as Karlene Nation who stated that, ‘This group has done nothing to foster positive race relations in the city. They have been divisive, negative, disrespectful, and incite hate towards the men and woman serving as police officers in Toronto. There are more deserving Torontonians who should be considered for this award.'”
Mammoliti’s request comes after years of his own poor race relations as a councillor. In 2007, he suggested the City should call the army in to clear out “gangsters” in the Jane and Sheppard area following a shooting involving a Black suspect. And the councillor has removed basketball hoops in his ward because they “seem to attract the wrong crowd outside…What I’ve heard loud and clear is that nobody is playing outdoor basketball any more, they seem to be selling drugs.” He replaced the basketball nets with ball hockey nets, which he argued are more family-friendly.
Black Lives Matter has not yet responded to Mammoliti’s comments.
Read Mammoliti’s full statement below.