REGENT PARK TV WEEKLY NEWS (Episode 71) – Report from Walied Khogali Ali

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REGENT PARK TV WEEKLY NEWS (Episode 71) – Report from Walied Khogali Ali

RPTV Weekly News Show Episode 71 (Feb 7 – Feb 16, 2024) - in this weekly news show hosted by RPTV reporter Kedar Ahmed, we present news that impacts on Toronto's Regent Park and the surrounding areas.

In this episode we present the following news for the week of February 7th. To February 16th:

00:00Intro

01:49 Interview with community leader Walied Khogali Ali on Zero Gun violence related deaths in Regent Park, the Metrolinx project in Moss Park, the work of the SDP and CBOWG in Regent Park, and coming Community Building working group initiatives such as the Café and Black History Month celebrations.

18:22 We cover the launch of the Regent Park Cafe.

29:59 Interview with 51 Division, Police Constable Kumar Shanmuganathan, who is one of the Neighbourhood Community Officers assigned to St. Jamestown.

36:50 And, we have the latests developments from the SDP Planning Meeting, where Richard Kirwan who is a Community Development Officer with Social Development, Finance and Administration (SDFA) for the City of Toronto, briefly talks about the hiring of a new Community Development Worker, and an up-date on the SDP Refresh.

41:30 Events and Jobs in Regent Park.

 

This week's lead story:

Special Report from Walied Khogali Ali.

In RPTV's Special Feature we present a round up of four areas of interest to the Regent Park community, touching on some of the most vital concerns in the area.

Well known community leader Walied Khogali Ali speaks at length to RPTV on on the recent announcement that in the past year 2023, there have been zero deaths due to gun violence in Regent Park. The significance of this development ties into what Walied identifies as the result of investment programs such as the Social Development Plan (SDP).

Secondly, Walied examines Metrolinx’s massive public works project, The Ontario Line, “will bring 15 new stations to the city and will run from Exhibition Place, through the heart of downtown, all the way to the Ontario Science Centre. It will give people more time back in their days, with a trip from one end to the other taking less than 30 minutes compared to the 70 minutes it takes on transit today. There will also be significant relief from crowding throughout the existing transit network thanks to connections to more than 40 other travel options along the way, including the TTC’s Line 1 and Line 2, three GO Transit rail lines, and the Eglington Crosstown LRT.” (www.metrolinx.com)

However, Walied underscores the problematic relationship that large scale public works projects have when they fail to properly include the needs of the communities they pass through. In the case of Moss Park where the Ontario Line will construct a new subway station, residents groups are calling on Metrolinx and the Government to provide this community with a comprehensive social development plan and the appropriate community benefits plan, and that local residents have a say in how the area is developed.

Thirdly, Walied reports on the Social Development Plan (SDP) and the Community Benefits Oversight Working Group (CBOWG). Walied summarized the latest activities by highlighting the ongoing collaboration between neighbourhood residents, Toronto Community Housing, and Tridel Builders Inc. This collaboration continues to both shape and inform all the stakeholders on all the various activities that are at the core of the revitalization process, from community building, to employment, to community safety, and communications.

And finally, Walied looks at the significance of Black History Month in Regent, highlighting the diverse contributions of Black people to culture, history, the community and society in general. In a place like Regent Park, where there is a significant Black population, it's essential to acknowledge and honour the heritage and achievements of Black individuals and communities. The Community Building Working Group of the Social Development Plan has worked closely with key community partners to promote and inform area residents about upcoming community events. Walied Khogali Ali who is deeply involved in a wide variety of activities with the Regent Park Neighbourhood Association (RPNA) delves into what will be happening in the area for Black History Month.

The first project for 2024 is the launch of the Regent Park Cafe. For those acquainted with the Regent Park neighbourhood and its longstanding reputation as a landing place for newcomers embarking on their journey of integration into Canadian life, the area is widely acknowledged for its diverse makeup. It proudly claims the title of being the most ethnically diverse neighbourhood in Canada. However, taking a stroll eastwards along Dundas St. toward River St., one might struggle to discern significant evidence of this diversity. While it's evident that residents come from various regions around the world, the streetscape may initially appear to align more with the stereotypical Canadian landscape, characterized by familiar establishments like Tim Hortons, Wendy's, Subway, Shoppers Drug Mart, RBC Bank, Hasty Mart, Freshco, Circle K, Rabba Foods, and Sam's Food Stores. This assortment of businesses, though ubiquitous, may not fully encapsulate the rich cultural tapestry that defines the neighbourhood, raising questions about the representation of its true diversity.

The opening of RP CAFE amid the predominantly franchise-driven landscape in Regent Park marks a significant milestone. The surrounding businesses largely consist of franchises offering established services and products, often falling short in catering to the diverse cultural backgrounds present in the community. Regent Park, home to a majority of residents with South Asian, Black, Chinese, and Southeast Asian backgrounds, has notably lacked eateries that truly embrace cultural sensitivity. RP CAFE, by contrast, stands out as a promising addition that has the potential to address this gap, providing a more inclusive and culturally aware dining experience for the diverse population it serves.

Regent Park's on-going transformation is the culmination of many different factors such as a comprehensive urban renewal initiative that encompasses social housing redevelopment, community revitalization, mixed-income development, infrastructure upgrades, economic development, cultural revival, sustainability initiatives, equity and social justice considerations, and public-private partnerships. But what stands out the most is the resilience of the residents and their determination to fashion together a community that is inclusive and supportive of all residents.

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Video Upload Date: February 12, 2024

FOCUS Media Arts Centre (FOCUS) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative media stereotypes of low income communities and provide relevant information to residents living in the Regent Park area and surrounding communities.

We seek to empower marginalized individuals and under represented communities to have a voice, through the  use of professional training, mentorships and participatory based media practices that enable the sharing of stories, experiences and perspectives on relevant matters and issues. In brief our mandate is to empower marginalized individuals and under-serviced communities to have a voice and tell their own stories.

 

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