Local Hero: Sandy Hudson, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, has had a lifelong passion for activism
Sandy Hudson was just in Grade 5 when she launched a milk carton recycling program at Denlow Public School in North York.
It was her first encounter with what would become a lifelong passion for activism. In 2008, Hudson was the first black woman elected Student Union president at University of Toronto. As president, she tackled climbing tuition fees and racial disparity in education. She also became heavily involved in organizing large rallies fighting for reduced tuition fees.
“I didn’t see a lot of students like myself, especially who are black, in the professional programs as tuition fees got more and more expensive,” Hudson said.
Following the racially charged events in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, Hudson put her organizing skills to the test and pulled together a vigil for slain teenager Michael Brown. She expected about 50 people to show up. She was shocked when 3,000 people turned out.
“Toronto was missing a mobilizing force when it comes to black death, justice and police brutality.… I think that’s what people were really hungry for,” she said.
The 30-year-old is now a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto.
“When I realized that I could do bigger projects, I just kind of fell into it,” said Hudson. Whether you agree with the group’s tactics or not, there is no denying the importance of their work.
Alongside her commitment to Black Lives Matter, she has worked on some of her own side projects, including a book on student debt and plans to launch an alternative black media website in the future.
“The big win for me is seeing how many people have been inspired or feel touched in some way.”