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PV talks to prominent Toronto community activist

20 July 2016 at 00:15 | 1542 views

Knia Singh is a new Osgoode Law School Graduate articling at Dallas Criminal Defence and well known community activist in Toronto, Canada. Patriotic Vanguard editor and publisher Gibril Koroma recently had this brief interview with him in which he presents his perspective on the situation among people of colour (or visible minorities as they are officially labelled) in Toronto and other parts of the province of Ontario.

Patriotic Vanguard: Who are you? Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Knia Singh: My name is Knia Singh and I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I am a community representative that has just obtained my Juris Doctor Law Degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. I have owned and operated a Hip Hop recording studio since 1993. I am politically active and have ran for political office five times in 1997, 2010, 2011, and 2014. I have raised two children as a single father and believe in a fair and just society for all people.

PV: What do you do? You seem to be involved a lot in community activism. Is this correct?

KS: I do what I think is necessary. I am involved in a lot of community activism because when I see injustice take place unaddressed I believe it is every good human being’s responsibility to speak up and do something about it. I am the past immediate Chair for CARIBANA, a Caribbean festival that brings in over $200 million dollars of tax revenue in to Toronto, yet the Caribbean community had the funding for the festival taken away because of two years of qualified audits, when the organization ran the festival for 40 years. I stepped up and used my time, energy and resources to attempt to get control of the festival back for the community.

I have spoken out against the practice of police targeting members of the community because of the colour of their skin. I have spoken out against the practice we call "carding" because it has happened too many times, and I know that so many other people like me suffer in silence. Me speaking out along with other colleagues resulted in the Ontario government writing clear regulations for the police to follow in regards to what the procedures are when trying to obtain information from people who are not involved in any criminal activity.

I lecture at various universities and community organizations in order to provide first hand information to students and other activists that may assist in their understanding of race relations and issue. I feel this is important because the more people can understand the slight nuances to situations, the better we can progress and find solutions together.

PV: What is the situation in Toronto right now in terms of the social, economic and political status of people of colour in that city and the rest of Ontario?.

KS: The social, economic and political status of people of colour in Toronto and the rest of the province varies depending on where you are and who you are. In general terms, the situation is not as good as it should be. There are large numbers of people of colour being put through the education system at a disadvantage. The minds of the young are not being developed and most of the students are being streamlined into courses that do not allow them entry into University. Schools are suspending children of colour at a higher rate than other children, and this takes place mostly among the Africa-Canadian and Indigenous population in Canada and the province.

Because of the low educational achievement, there is a disproportionate amount of people from the community that are of colour that are unemployed and living below the poverty line.

This lack of opportunity and education translates into a disinterest in the political system and voting, as it seems that politics will not make a difference in the lives of these young people conditioned to stay at the bottom of the social rung of the ladder.

With all of these factors combined, when you add on systemic racism by the police targeting young individuals, discrimination in the job market and lack of financial resources that can help, we end up with too many young people of colour without hope.

PV:Is there hope for a better future for people of colour all over Canada?

KS: Where there is hope is that there is a strong community of professionals that are trying their best and sending their children to university where there is a chance for upward social mobility. The young professionals have become politically active and are demanding change in the systemic racism that plagues our institutions which gives hope to the next generation. There is a lot of potential in the city and province, but there has to be a concerted effort on a consistent basis, and the right people have to be in the right positions in order for it to translate into beneficial results.

Here is another interview Knia had with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: