I am a resident of Scarborough Southwest who cares deeply about our community. I've lived in Toronto for most of my life. As a child of immigrants, I saw my parents face many of the same struggles as other newcomers raising their families in the suburbs and like many others they encouraged me to stay in school, get a good job, and have a better life here in Canada. That's how I ended up pursuing my career in Cities Engineering studying transportation, land use, sustainability, and infrastructure — the big challenges that urban regions are facing.
Over time, I found that some of our most pressing issues were not of hard infrastructure, but of social infrastructure. I observed policies and invisible networks that prevented the city from changing. The status quo has led to my neighbors getting injured and killed in collisions on our streets; it has led to my friends unable to afford living in the city that they love; it will lead to my kids experiencing the ever-worsening impacts of the climate crisis. So, I started to speak up; I started to advocate; and then I started to organize.
I began to make connections with other communities to build up a vision and bring people together. We have been successful in transforming streets across the city into safe, vibrant places. We have been able to engage and guide new housing developments that are coming into our neighborhood so they are more sustainable and affordable. We have been able to lay out a vision for our city and have shown how we can play our part in fighting for our future.
As we grapple with the challenges and opportunities of the future, we must accept that the city has changed. It is clear that the elected officials who have gotten us to this point cannot be the ones who lead this city to where it needs to go.
We have an opportunity, if not an obligation, to elect a City Council that understands the experiences of and shares the priorities of the diverse people of this city. That is exactly why I am running for City Council on behalf of my community of Scarborough Southwest.