Month: October 2018

White House Visit

I went to the White House last week and met some amazing young black conservative leaders. Majority of the youth have never been to the White House before. Never flew on a plane. Never left their city/town/state before. The President invited all of us to the White House for a reception. We were attending a seminar in town and met his son, Trump Jr. the night before. It was a really great experience to see some of the young kids face light up at being invited to one of the most prominent buildings in the world and meeting with the most powerful man in the world.

Some kids were able to borrow their parents/ grandparents clothes as they wanted to dress in the finest clothes. I heard their struggles of being a black conservative and how hard it is for them to say things like, “Making America Great Again to me is having safer communities, good jobs, affordable homes, the media has made it very tough for me to be proud that I want to make America Great Again. There’s no balance to MAGA from the media, everything about MAGA to the media is filled with hate. I get bullied in school.”

I saw a recent tweet from a well-known leader who wanted to post their picture that they had taken inside the White House on social media. The kids’ response, “oh I don’t want to be posted online. I fear that I might get shot back home”. The media portrayal of MAGA has left many of the kids afraid of wearing something that they believe in.

The leadership seminar that we attended, by Turning Point USA, was the first time for many to wear their MAGA hats with pride. It is, after all, a large and growing group. But the media fails to acknowledge them. The media fails to showcase the positivity that MAGA has made for some individuals/communities. The media’s highlight of MAGA negativity has made life for people who want to make America Great through safe communities, etc. have people including these kids fearing for their safety.

The age groups were wide and the excitement from the 11 years to 35 years old was enthralling. The group chanted USA and I would shout, “And Canada” every now and again. You couldn’t help but join in with their excitement. When President Trump addressed the room and asked us who wants to be President, even I threw up my hand and said, “me!” (yes, I know I legally can’t become president) . I loved the energy and again, the way the media had portrayed young kids, college kids, it was heartbreaking.

Due to recent activities in the U.S., the FBI was able to successfully apprehend the suspect involved in mail explosives. The President addressed the media with the latest developments first and then proceeding to address the attendees for the Young Black Leadership Summit. The President inspired the youth that they can become President one day and offered words of encouragements. After the press conference, the President chatted with the youth. I went to the back of the room where the press was stationed and the media looked awkward and stayed silent.

After the days’ event, I was back at the hotel and flipped through the TV channels. What I saw and heard at the White House and what the media had addressed left me in shock. The term, “Fake News”, you hear it all the time, but to actually experience it left me in awe. Rev. Al Sharpton referred to us as actors, that the president hosted a staged rally in a sacred room. Said that the MAGA hats were for photo ops.

First, I can’t imagine what these kids must feel. They left their homes to come to Washington, meet the most powerful man in the world, feel empowered by their personal choice, left the White House with renewed strength and hope, being with a large like-minded group, and then return back to the hotel to see the media response on the world stage.

Kids are afraid to wear their hats or talk about conservatism and major news outlets called us paid actors. Like we don’t exist. I can’t help but cry for these kids and to anyone who has been ridiculed and discriminated for believing in something and for wanting something better for themselves and their surroundings. How dare the media denounce us as fakes on an international level. The interpretation that the media has made us look, has traumatized the most innocent.

Hopes and dreams get shattered when the media portrays us in a certain way and then sells it to viewers as the way we are. The power the media holds above us. I hope no one from the group returns home and gets bullied because of media interpretation.

I wrote this piece to address the way I and my friends’ were viewed by the media and how the media chose to tell the world who we are not. It was cruel, unfair and undeserving. At this point, the media has been given the power to cause serious harm to innocent people and that is something that we as a society need to be aware of and address.

It’s Time For Change

I’ve learned in life that sometimes winners aren’t the loudest in the room but the wisest. The 2018 municipal elections have been loud on many fronts and it challenged every person involved. It has taken a great deal for many of us to make it to election day and I applaud everyone who has chosen to run in this election.

I ran in this election with a purpose: to improve the well-being of my community and my city. During the election period, the province made a motion to cut council. As it shocked many people across the country, I stayed focused on the goal: to improve the well-being of my community and the city. After the council size announcement, I continued to knock on doors and changed my focus to helping everyone in our great city in our newly designed wards.

Toronto needs to change. It is apparent that our transit is behind and poverty is everywhere. The city continues to grow in population, and our transit system has failed to keep up with the demand. If you travel on a subway during rush hour, you can expect up to three trains to pass you before you board a very cramped train. This is not an acceptable means of transit from the 4th largest city in North America.

Many people work two jobs to cover the cost of living in this city and many people are a paycheque away from not being able to cover the cost of rent. For some, getting sick or a tragic event happen to them is not an option to go on leave and risk falling behind on bills. Poverty continues to rise and our city has failed to put forth a plan to reduce the size. As a result, we are all suffering.

I’ve dedicated the last several months to campaigning, and I plan to continue to work with the community and help improve the lives of as many residents as I can. The focus is clear; we need representation that not only cares about her community but also the wellbeing of the city.

Campaigning for better transit, safer communities and poverty doesn’t stop on election day. The dialogue continues until the issues are met with a plan of action and regular updates from the community are heard.

This task will not be an easy job for any councillor to take on while hearing from frustrated citizens while repairing 20+ years of backlogs in housing, transit, schools, etc. all the while the city continues to grow. It takes a strong leader, a smart team of people and community engagement to push the city into prosperity. It will not be easy, but I will fight to improve the lives of as many people as possible.

We need our city to move, to be safe, and to grow, and our current councillors have failed all of us. Now is the time for a new beginning. I hope that with a reduced council will allow city hall to implement a plan to get the changes needed in these three particular areas.

Our city has a wide range of issues, but if we can’t travel efficiently and our residents don’t feel safe and are struggling to make ends meet, then we are doomed to fail in other areas that are in need.

Every vote matters. Make your voice heard. Show your support and vote for me, Gladys Larbie on Election Day.

Let’s Be Real Part 3

We need safer communities. Let’s acknowledge the fact that police in Toronto are understaffed, overworked, and underpaid. Why should a Toronto P.O. deal with triple the size of people and issues when neighbouring towns get paid the same and deal with less? How can we have community care when the city isn’t protecting the men and women that serve to protect us?

How can police officers stop/ criminalize drug users when we put yellow boxes and safe injection sites on major streets and parks?

Now we banned P.O.s from wearing their uniform at Pride Parade? Why is the city stepping back when we need to step up?

We have real issues and it’s hard to protect the community when we are failing to protect one another.

It’s very similar to at risks youth. We want our youth to succeed but we are failing to provide them with the tools and prevent them from getting involved with gangs.

There’s too much gang activity and it’s perceived as a normal way of life in many parts of the city. Schools are deteriorating and books are not up-to-date. Why should they stay in school when the building looks neglected and falling apart? Is that what we think of our kids? If we can’t fix schools, how can we get kids to believe that we care about them?

Let’s be real and address the reasons why we are all unsafe in this city. Let’s bring change to city hall. Change that will acknowledge and address these issues.

Happy Thanksgiving

A day to remember to give thanks

A day to remember all that we are thankful for

A day to remember that we can all give back when our hearts filled with things to be thankful for

A day to remind ourselves that we should give thanks every day of the year

I acknowledge the indigenous land in which I represent as your next city councillor. As well, I acknowledge the Thanksgiving meals that derived from indigenous cultures.

It is important to reflect on the history of Thanksgiving as well as the culture in which we propitiated as a result of this holiday.

Thanksgiving for me is a time to remember to give back. The autumn season prepares us to harvest what we can and prepare for the winter season. During this time of the year, we need to look out for one another, our friends, our loved ones, our neighbours, as we all may face barriers during the cold months.

Thanksgiving is a time to give back. Toronto Centre has services such as food banks, shelters, meal drop-in programs, etc. that is in need of additional community help and support. Our ward has many services that are in need of expertise in all avenues to help continue to grow and prosper.

We all can take part by knowing our community, the services in which is in our area, what is offered and what is needed. Educating ourselves with the services in our community, we can inform others of what is provided, we can utilize our skills to help improve the services, and we can network with other services and people to help promote/ improve the services.

Giving back to our community is important. In order for our community to thrive, we must also educate ourselves. Contact votegladys@gmail.com if you are interested in finding ways to give back to our city. Team Gladys Larbie is currently compiling a master list of services in our ward and needs your help. Please contact votegladys@gmail.com to add your organization or services to the list. We will compile the list online and will continue to add often.

Let’s give thanks every day.