Hamilton queer activist talks about hate in her city and politicians who just don't get it

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Image: Lyla Miklos

Hamilton, Ontario. Factory city, crime-ridden downtown, mafia stronghold. At least that's what people used to think of Hamilton.

That's been changing in recent years as people from "away" have been discovering the good things about the city as they've moved to escape high real estate in Toronto. They've been discovering what longtime residents have known all along -- that it's a city full of people with good hearts and pride in their city.

Yet there is still a dark underbelly in the Hammer. 

Hamilton has just earned the dubious distinction of being community No. 1 in police-reported hate crimes in Canada, according to a July 2019 report by Statistics Canada. According to the report, the rate was 17.1 people out of 100,000. As a comparison, the national rate was 4.9, while Toronto was 6.4.

Judging by recent events, it's not getting better. Over the past few months there have been visible demonstrations of hatred. In June, Hamilton Pride was targeted by far-right hate groups. Yellow Vesters have been showing up at city hall every Saturday morning for several months to demonstrate. There are a few more elements in this toxic stew, which today's guest explores.

Lyla Miklos is the former chair of Pride Hamilton and the LGBTQ advisory committee for the City of Hamilton. A resident of Hamilton since 1982, she is an engaged citizen who thinks the local city council and mayor's actions are inadequate to address the problem of hate in her city. She also thinks that the problem didn't rise up out of nowhere.

Her conversation with rabble podcast executive producer Victoria Fenner begins with a recap from Miklos about recent happenings related to hate in the city, and then moves into what other communities can learn from what's going on in Hamilton.

Victoria Fenner is executive producer of rabble's podcast network.

Image: Lyla Miklos

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.