I am not the mayor. I told those children I’m not the mayor. At the moment I have zero interest in ever being the mayor. But at that moment, I felt like the king of the world. I did what I came to do. Those children know I came from Rexdale. I want to see them knocking on doors some day, asking their neighbours for their votes. I want them to challenge assumptions. To never accept paternalism as a substitute for equality and agency. I want them to demand their rights, forcefully. I want them to be the true face of diversity in a future Toronto that’s finally left behind its empty platitudes and false promises.
Politics is a competitive sport. The way most political operatives look at it, you win or you lose - you win, have a long-term plan to win, or you're a loser.
I don't share this view.
I've worked with a lot of politicians on a lot of campaigns - some who won accomplished nothing, and many who lost influenced the public conversation in significant ways. I've also spent a lot of time working in backrooms and boardrooms, on the ground and in community centres. What I've learned is that being in office isn't everything; change comes in many forms. If you can see the big picture, you can see how the pieces fit together and when you can do that - you can change everything.
You can't do this, however, if you put yourself first. Leaders never put themselves first. Which is why they never quit and why the change they catalyze extends far beyond whatever position or title they gain.
Andray Domise has inspired youth over the course of the just-completed campaign. That matters. What matters more is the fact that he won't stop here. Andray's unwavering commitment to his community and all our communities, to the youth who thought he was mayor and even the Torontonians who subjected him to racism.
Toronto needs leaders who put the community first. Whether they win office or not, they get informed, they engage and they make a difference. These aren't cautionary tales, they're inspirations. We're lucky to have leaders like this; I will continue to do all I can to support them.