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Toronto municipal election: Walied Khogali for Councillor - Ward 23

By: 
Faline Bobier

July 28, 2018

Walied Khogali launched his campaign for Toronto city councillor in Ward 23 for the municipal elections in October 2018. Ward 23 encompasses the diverse neighbourhoods of St James Town, Regent Park and Cabbagetown. These neighbourhoods, particularly Regent Park and St James Town, have a history of chronic underfunding and a low level of public services available, linked to the high percentage of immigrants and communities of colour in these neighbourhoods.

Khogali is a young but nonetheless long-time activist and often founding member of various grass roots campaigns, such as TTC Riders (activists fighting for affordable public transit in Toronto), the Coalition against white supremacy and racism, and many others.

The campaign launch was well-attended with more than 150 in attendance. As Desmond Cole, the MC for the event, said while looking round the room, this room is much more representative than what city council chambers currently looks like. Those attending included many from the community: Blacks, Asians, Muslims, as well as trade union leaders, anti-racist activists and many families from the neighbourhood.

Khogali's campaign is part of a growing number of progressive candidates who are running for political office at the municipal and other levels, both here and in the US. These campaigns are reflections of the movements from below and of a growing frustration and anger with the status quo, the way politics has been the preserve of the powerful and the wealthy in society, who are almost always white.

At the launch he talked about his own experience as a first generation immigrant as part of what informs his politics. His father came to Canada with a PhD which wasn't recognized here and so he got a job working as a security guard at the Wellesley Community Centre. Khogali recognized his mother, who attended the launch, as someone who's probably "organized half the people in this room."

Khogali describes the impetus for deciding to run for city council this way: "For many years, I have worked with people across this city to create safe, inclusive, sustainable communities that are free from discrimination and hate.

I love Toronto and like many of us who have chosen to make our city our home, I am concerned about our future. But I believe our future is up to us. A more affordable, livable and caring city is possible."

Campaigns like Walied's have shown they can be successful to the extent that they are based on organizing from below and connected to the communities they represent. As Desmond Cole said when he introduced Walied to the room, "Many of us have heavy hearts about what's been going on in our city. That's why we're here to support Walied. He's going to be a part of the change we need."

For additional information, or if would like to donate to or volunteer in Walied's campaign, visit votewalied.ca

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