BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in reference to Monday night's city council meeting. Check out our story about it here.
Sometimes it takes a lot of strength to point out the truth. This can be especially true in a city like Barrie, where the dominant class of people has had its way for decades.
You can see it in how the city has been planned and organized, in the priorities that have been put forward, and in the racist institutions of control and dominance that have been supported.
Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped Coun. Keenan Aylwin.
When he ran for council two years ago, he spoke about the critical need to stand up for and empower the people who have been ignored in our community for too long.
He campaigned on the idea of building a better city by giving the oppressed and marginalized a voice, and by supporting ideas and policies that benefit everyone, regardless of how much money people have or what they look like.
The establishment has stood strong, though. They are not going to let the old way of doing things go without a fight.
Monday night’s council meeting was just another example (supervised consumption site, silence on white nationalism, defunding the police, etc.). Coun. Aylwin’s request for more information about downtown bylaws targeting people experiencing homelessness was shot down. That was followed by certain councillors playing the role of victim when Coun. Aylwin called for some accountability and called out the systemic racism prevalent in our society.
And what does Coun. Aylwin get for his efforts? He gets attacked. And it’s not just around the council table. You can see the organized effort against him building strength for the next election. It’s not unexpected, though. When people feel their power slipping away, they will do everything they can to hold on to it.
Standing up for those silenced by their city isn’t easy. Shaking up an establishment used to running things their way isn’t easy. And it’s only going to get tougher.
Thankfully, though, Coun. Aylwin isn’t afraid to do just that. And the city will be a better place for it. He has an army of supporters behind him, and we won’t let him fight this battle alone.