Toronto mayor John Tory made sensible choices when he reached out to local hip hop figures, Kardinal Offishall, Director X and Taj Critchflow, three individuals who represent different intersections of the culture, past and present. Tory ordered the summit in response to a reported increase of gun violence in the hip hop community in Toronto.

Local rapper Smoke Dawg was shot to death late last week, in a triple shooting that remains an open investigation. The shooting occurred just outside Cube nightclub in Downtown Toronto, with crowds amassed in celebration of "Canada Day." The sticky numbers helped the assailants sail of into the night. Two others were treated for non-fatal injuries and released from Hospital.

Kardinal, the elder statesmen of the Toronto hip hop summit, shared his thoughts on Gun Violence via Twitter, days before the group assembled to discuss a workable strategy. His position was to absolve the music of any blame: "lack of community funding and programming" has led to "desensitized youth with a lack of resources." 

Kardinal in particular, was pleasantly surprised by the mayor's preparedness. John Tory went through the trouble of reading their responses on Social Media, while taking a listen-first approach during the meeting. "Sometimes we look at our officials and politicians as being out of touch with marginalized communities, but I will say that he is very much aware of the large task that is at hand and was very receptive to a lot of our ideas that were put forth," Kardinal posted after the summit.

There is inevitably no one solution to the problem of gun violence in marginalized communities, but proper community outreach feels like a step in the direction, most would agree, even the most jaded.

[via CBC]