The Politician | Ausma Malik
While this year’s Toronto elections were a mixed bag when it came to progressive voices on city council, it was a banner year for diverse candidates finally getting a chance to make their mark on the city. Along with Black health promoter Amber Morley, community organizer Alejandra Bravo and Black lawyer and community advocate Jamaal Myers winning their seats, former school trustee Ausma Mailk made history as the first hijab-wearing Muslim on council when she won the seat in Ward 10. We’re excited to see what Malik will bring to the table in 2023.
By Joe Cressy, former Ward 10 Councillor
I’ve known Ausma Malik for a very long time. From her early days as a student association leader at the University of Toronto to her time as a Toronto District School Board trustee, at all times I’ve known her to be a principled, effective and empathetic leader. However, what truly amazes me about Ausma is her bravery. As the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to hold elected office in Toronto (first as a school trustee and now as a city councillor), I’ve seen first-hand how Ausma has had to deal with hateful rhetoric. In our joint 2014 municipal election campaign, I witnessed an anonymous hate campaign — complete with leaflets, posters and even protests — targeting Ausma and her faith. Her bravery in the face of such brutal behaviour is a testament to her remarkable character. Ausma knows what she believes — she is deeply committed to building a more fair and just society, and she won’t back down. She is truly a remarkable woman. Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. It’s even our city’s motto: Diversity Our Strength. Nevertheless, diversity is simply a fact. Inclusion, that’s a choice. In electing Ausma Malik, residents of Toronto chose a vision for — and a leader committed to — inclusion. Toronto will be better off for Ausma Malik’s emerging presence at city hall.
See our full list of Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2022 here.