Sept. 25, 2020: Statement about incident on EllisDon's construction site from Sarah Downey, President and CEO of Michael Garron Hospital
Message on behalf of Sarah Downey, President & CEO at Michael Garron Hospital
After a racist act took place on our redevelopment construction site this past June, I penned an open letter to our community declaring that Michael Garron Hospital stands united against hate. It pains and angers me to confirm that on September 24, two more nooses were found on the EllisDon construction site on our property.
These despicable acts of racism are not reflective of our hospital community. While we will not let incident of hate define us, we will call out these insidious acts whenever they take place.
Following the first display of nooses on the construction site in June, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our employees, neighbours, community and local businesses. They surrounded our hospital and the construction workers who work there in support with a display of anti-racism messages. We further cleansed the site with a healing ceremony before the final structural beam, symbolically named the Unity Beam, was placed in our new building in August. What took place on September 24 was an overt attempt to dismantle the reconciliation work our community and our hospital has done to heal.
This pattern indicates a systemic problem. Although we have been reassured by the efforts made by EllisDon and others to address racism in the construction industry, it is clear that they need to do better. I am committed to addressing systemic and overt racism within our organization and the health sector and will hold EllisDon and all of our partners accountable to do the same.
Investigations on this most recent incident are underway and we will work alongside Toronto Police Service to ensure that whoever is responsible for this act is identified and prosecuted. Anti-Black racism has no place in our hospital or anywhere in our community and it will never be tolerated.