1. What difference would you like to make by entering politics?
The difference I would like to make is the way we see and treat each and ourselves; in doing so, I will empower our people and place the emphasis on the 'diversity', 'our' and 'strength' parts of our city motto and truly reflect "Diversity Our Strength".
Specifically regarding our Citizens in Toronto, working with our people, we can be empowered to recognize that our voice, our abilities and who we are matters! When people are empowered we are inspired to take steps forward not only for ourselves but also for our fellow sojourner. When we are empowered, we become engaged in our life and civic responsibilities. One plus one plus one adds up as people get engaged. We are the government. When people recognize that our voice is demonstrated through our vote, through standing together on issues & concerns, through our actions of common decency towards the needs of all, then this goal of empowerment will be accomplished.
I want to empower people to be reminded that we can effect change; standing together, WE WILL effect change.
Specifically regarding "government" as it stands, I want to change the culture of thinking within government to recognize that all civil servants are there to serve!
In my opinion, the greatest things we can do is serve, bless & love people.
We can work together to properly address outstanding problems. We can "get 'er done!" When civil servants recognize the honour and blessings in being able to fulfill duties to everyone whom we serve, in a timely manner, we foster an environment wherein everyone thrives.
When we change the culture of thinking within government from one that is "top down" to one that is people-centric, we change the courses of action we take. Where the mind goes every thing follows.
2. How do you feel this impact would affect the Black community specifically?
Can you imagine the strength of empowered people?
Can you imagine the number of people within our community who will be inspired, motivated refreshed to finally feel like they are being heard and part of the decision making process?
Can you imagine?
I see the light in people's eyes when they find out that I'm running to be elected as the Chief Public Servant aka Mayor for the city of Toronto. People who otherwise felt disconnected or disengaged from politics thinking that the same old same old would continue and that nothing would change illuminate hope when I ask them to share with as many people as they can, "Vote D!ONNE Renée on election day!"
It's as if our own awakening comes when we see a reflection of ourselves standing up for the 98% of us who are underrepresented.
I am continually reminding our community and all underrepresented communities to vote early- Oct 14th-19th!
The 2% want us to be disengaged because it serves their purposes. Believe that the 2%'s people will be voting early.
Go to your voting booth early and in large groups! Show that we are interested in decisions that effect our lives. Show that Black people DO vote!
Shake things up! No more same old same old. When we vote D!ONNE Renée on election day, we make a profound statement to government that enough is enough! We want change! We say together that 98% of us want everyone to live & thrive!
3. Have you worked with members of the Black community prior to running for office and in what capacity?
I work with members of our Black community and all communities by caring for, paying attention to, advocating for, addressing the needs of our citizens.
I didn't just show up saying I want to serve without serving and learning to serve.
I am thankful for every mentor (too many to list, but you know who you are) who knowingly or unknowingly invested in me and in we.
I will say that the greatest Mentor in the Black community and also in all communities is my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ.
(a) How do you think your background will help you in your job as an elected representative?
Again, as mentioned above, servitude is key!
My Lord daily demonstrates to me and reminds me of the true nature of service in addition to the true nature of humbleness.
My background has prepared me to recognize that we are all under construction therefore to be mindful of treating one another with care.
Notwithstanding, the word of God teaches and helps me to stand up for truth, for justice, for our widows, for our orphaned, for our children, for our poor, for our homeless population, for what is right. I can be fierce when I need to be and gentle at all other times.
I know the greatest asset in my background is my relationship with GOD. GOD has prepared my path and HE walks along it with me as I walk with HIM. This journey to here with HIM, I trust, brings glory to HIM.
I trust that with the support of your vote, we can show a different way of being an elected Representative of the people; one that reflects the voice of our people and one that properly addresses the concerns and needs of our people.
4. What issues are you most passionate about, and why?
I am most passionate about positioning people for success. I am most passionate about being a voice for the underrepresented.
Positioning people for success is a broad statement I created because it is all encompassing. Positioning people for success requires the ability to see, recognize and to motivate. In seeing, we are alert to the talent, abilities, needs, issues, etc... of our citizens. In recognizing, we acknowledge people by addressing the outstanding issues that effect & have an effect on all our lives. In motivating, we inspire people to be empowered and to empower. Wi chi hito win is an Aboriginal People's, First Nations' saying which means in my lay understanding if the translation: helping oneself and helping others.
Positioning people for success means promoting equity, equality and social and economic justice so that everyone can thrive.
Positioning people for success means addressing the outstanding inequality and exclusion of our people who are currently marginalized and excluded because of oppressive, racist, sexist systemic systems that are in place to serve the 2% who unapologetically are benefitting from its continuance. We keep talking about "breaking down barriers"; let's actually do it!
Success is a relative term. Success to one person may be the relief of not having to choose to make a bill payment or feed one's kids; success could be finding a job; success could mean being able to finally get out of bed; success could mean getting to work on time (a reliable transit system); success could mean being able to afford to live in Toronto; success could be the fact that you can access the city; success could mean that you recognize that you're healthy... you recognize that you're happy... you recognize that you're blessed & loved! Success is relative to you.
All the above involves being a voice for the underrepresented.
These positioned for success passionate pursuits I mentioned earlier that need to be properly addressed are the essence of my platform: being a voice for the underrepresented; accessibility; creating a mental health plan for the City of Toronto; implementing sustainable plans that: promote, employment, social entrepreneurism & entrepreneurial pursuits, the creative sector, youth & youth initiatives and programs, seniors & seniors' initiatives and programs, sustainable environmental strategic initiatives and programs, capitalizing on our assets with our people being the greatest of these assets and creating a city wherein we can live & thrive.
With your help, I aim to position people for success so that we all can live & thrive!
5. As a Black candidate, do you feel any responsibility to focus your efforts on issues affecting the Black community? If yes, what do you feel the most pressing issues are?
Firstly, I'm always curious about questions that have a "as a Black" or "as a woman" type prefaces. I only know what I know and feel as coming from the fact that I am Black and I am female by creation.
Having said that, who knows our experience better than us?
Of course I feel responsibility to focus efforts on issues affecting the Black community. I also feel responsibility to focus efforts on issues affecting women, marginalized people and anyone feeling excluded.
Notwithstanding, I hope people pay attention to this question and recognize that white Candidates are not asked, "Do you feel any responsibility to focus your efforts on issues affecting the White community?" Ask yourself why and pay attention to the answers you receive.
6. What is the one thing you plan to achieve if you get elected?
Why limit achievement to one thing?
In addition to GOD being known and glorified, please see answers 1-5. These are the achievements we aim to see when I'm elected.
7. What do you think is the deterrent to economic success in the Black community, and how do you to propose to address this in your riding?
Teeheehee... I'm half kidding. White folks do pose obstacles to economic success, not only in the Black community but also in all communities. Systemic racism is entrenched in all levels of government including education and business. This oppressive system, which has not been revised to broadly appeal to all people, limits access to freedoms, initiatives and incentives that are currently being enjoyed by a majority of our white community benefits from.
As the Chief Public Servant aka Mayor for the city of Toronto, when you elect me, I plan to confront and actually break down the barriers that impede economic success in all communities thus effecting every riding/Ward.
To be clear, I love our white brothers & sisters and all brother & sisters. I'm speaking a truth that has long gone unsaid. #TRUTH!
8. What current policies do you oppose of the current government and why?
If referring to federal- As Mayor for the City of Toronto, I believe the government should enact the one of six cents charged on every dollar under the existing Goods and Services Tax/HST, 1% oil tax (cities receive 1% amount of oil sales), etc...
While these were not policies previously in place, we should obtain them as these solutions benefit society.
10. Why, or should members of the Black community get involved with politics?
Someone had to correct me (which I humbly I received), that politics is about people. My belief was that I am not interested in politics but I'm very interested in people and in the decision making process that affects and has an effect on each of our lives- so should you!
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