Politicians give advice to racialized people considering public office | Living In Colour

you know you talked about how diverse the city is but unfortunately when we look at local levels of government I'm from an area that's just outside of Toronto called Mississauga and very racially diverse in fact more racially diverse than not and it it has one person of color on it City Council here in Toronto we have one woman of color on our city council a place that suppose to be a beacon of diversity and pluralism and yet it's not represented on the local level what's missing well when I was first elected that issue really spoke to me and this is back in 2013 and I tabled a private member's bill on ranked ballot to diversify how we elected the mayor and council so that we can have an opportunity for people who are not incumbent to run and have voice and be elected in local local democracy and it's so very very important and I think it's something that we still need to work on because you know that was that was the case in Brampton until their last election hmm where we now have for people of color a part of Council which is historic for a city and I think that City that's so diverse so diverse and it makes sense though and it makes sense now they have for people from different cultures and communities being represented on council and I think what happened you know I ran past I ran in the past municipal and what happens is that municipally it's there's a lot more the strength of like the institutional name is much more magnified and what it does is it makes it actually hard for new people to come in and people from different backgrounds if you don't have that same name or it's that same background that you're coming from so it isn't it's an upwards battle from the get-go so kudos to those who can who can break through but more so there is something wrong in a system that makes it so hard for people from different backgrounds to succeed so what do we do I mean yeah well how do we get these and actually if you don't mind stand I'd like to ask you and then we'll go we'll go this way but it's I mean I'm not gonna lie even I've been approached and I don't know if I would ever want to put it all out there it's not easy I mean being on television is one thing but running for politics is something very different I mean some aspects of my colleagues comments I agree with that I might disagree a little bit with the process of how we get I think the end goal is the same and what we want we obviously want a diverse you know legislature what I think is happening out there I mean I can only speak from my background is I believe Korean Canadians get heavily involved in the church I mean there's per capita probably the most churches out there for it for our community it I think it's about being better represented be having your pioneers lead the way so that they you can lead by example and I firmly believe in the saying as cliches and I might sound be the change you want to see and and I think that you know and I'm happy to say Raymond Cho was the was the first Korean Canadian to be elected to any level of government here in Ontario and the first Canadian born Korean and I get letters and emails all the time from Koreans and in BC in Korea who say they're very proud and it's inspiring them and I think that's how we can lead the next generation is to make those bold moves and to have people follow in your footsteps by example Mitsy you worked in this space a lot you work for civic action an organization that really promotes this type of stuff what is missing why aren't more people of color running yeah and I was gonna say that as well in addition to the electoral systems we also have to support those who put their hands up and say they're gonna run for elected office so civic action has a diversity Fellows Program which really exposes people from broad backgrounds to all levels of government and power frankly getting them in that room where those decisions are being made is really important there are organizations that are forming like the Canadian Muslim vote operation black vote that are working with local communities to say hey politics is is not a bad and scary place it's actually a place that you can become involved whether it's as volunteers knocking on doors or in the you know the policy strategy area or yes putting your name on a ballot and actually running for a different level of office that's something that is really important to to make sure that we have the support for individuals who do put up their hand and say that they want to become involved in that they do want to run for office we have to wrap up but I really want to end this with each of you giving me a sentence to somebody whose water right now who's maybe younger watching you and thinking you know I might I might run I might this is maybe inspiring me what would you want to say to them you know I think to my parents they're the story of what led me to politics my dad couldn't get a job he couldn't speak English didn't understand the culture so he ended up selling earthworms as fishing bait from there he thought a convenient story went into real estate and created a very successful business this is a country this is a province where you can go from selling earthworms to owning us discuss a successful business sky's the limit I never thought I'd leave the politics just do it put your name in the ring if you can see me you can be me and for young people out there who are watching they need to know that you just have to work hard understand that there is a calling on your life there is there something that you want to be there's a contribution you want to make there's a goal that you have that's inside of you work hard be relentless and pursue that and don't be afraid to be the first and to step out because there's a reason that you're called to do that if you can see me you can be me I am stealing that from you I love it that's fantastic good so my mom is always taught my brother and I that we're all one they're all connected there were all part of something greater than ourselves and if we do truly believe that we're all one that means the pain someone else feels is pain that we feel and when I look at this world right now when I look at this province there's a lot of injustice and we must understand that we have a duty as humans to fight for a better world and this should be inspired by this idea that we're all one they're all connected and I don't think the world can afford to not have amazing politicians and amazing leaders it can afford at this moment to have people are not going to fight against some of the drastic issues are facing like climate change for debility like inequity and so I really think that it's something that we have to understand the power the government can hold and that to those young people watching you can be a part of that movement to make more equitable and more just world

Maurice Vega

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