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August 17, 2001
Diversity Advocate initiates discussion on youth homicides in Toronto
Councillor Sherene Shaw, Toronto City Council's Diversity Advocate, is hosting
a roundtable discussion with City staff and agencies to respond to the recent
homicides involving black youth in Toronto. This roundtable will be followed by
meetings later in the year with community organizations and private sector

"Toronto City Council has to continue its leadership role in responding to the
root causes of this violence, such as unemployment, poverty, lack of focused
youth initiatives and lack of mentoring," said Councillor Shaw. "There are
several City programs that are currently in place, however, it would appear
that these programs are not communicated specifically to our communities and
youth most in need. We must find ways to ensure that this information reaches
the targeted groups and that our youth are fully aware of the City initiatives
that are available to them. I am asking staff to review these programs to see
how they can be enhanced or expanded, and to initiate community partnerships,
which I believe is the key to resolving these issues."

She also commented, "We cannot stand by and allow this situation to continue.
Our young people need to feel that they are part of this city and we need to
find more ways to respond to the alienation that results in mindless violence."

The staff roundtable discussion will be held at the end of August, to be
followed by meetings with community agencies.

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