Amanda Parris wrote a thoughtful piece on the CBC Arts website (“I spent my 20s working with Toronto youth, and today’s gun violence conversations feel like déja vu”) about her experience of Toronto’s last response to the 2008 “summer of the gun” when she was leading an arts initiative that worked with youth living in neighbourhoods most impacted by gun violence. It’s an an important reminder to politicians and funders that we are likely going to see history repeating itself if our response to this issue is a series of short-term grants and interventions that cannot be sustained over the long term.
The conversation today has shifted, but it doesn’t feel very different for me or for many of the people who I worked with a decade ago. Bah believes the conversation is largely the same. “There will be funding for new approaches, but that funding will run out eventually and those ideas won’t get the chance for refinement and to be scaled and supported over a generation,” he said.
Campbell is also skeptical. “The talking points are pretty much the same as 2005. Already money is being made available to once again address gangs, guns and violence in Toronto. Why did the [original] funding stop?”