In addition to the great emotional toll, there are family expenses to consider in these difficult times - burials, funerals, family accommodation, and mental health assistance. Please read the full story below, contribute if you're able, but most importantly share this with family, friends, and community members so that victims' families may know they have support to get through this difficult time.
January 2018 started with the shocking discovery that Toronto had a serial killer who targeted gay men. The alleged killer - Bruce Mc Arthur.
Andrew Kinsman, a loving and caring activist who went missing in 2017, was the first man to be found. His friends and family actively searched for him and kept the pressure on police to find him. The news of him being found was released in January of 2018 and Bruce Mc Arthur was accused of his murder.
Shortly after, remains of other men who were reported missing as far back as 2010 were found and identified. All but two were of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent - Abdul Basir Faizi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Majeed Kayan, Soroush Mahmudi, Selim Esan, and Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam. Dean Lisowick was the other victim. The identities of these eight individuals were confirmed in July 2018.
Over the last few months, I have been in touch with the families and asked if they were in need of community and financial support. Some families are now running single parent households, some had to travel from Sri Lanka and from countries in the Middle East to claim the bodies of their loved ones, and some are struggling with mental health conditions as a result of media reports surrounding their traumatic losses. As we approach the fall and coming new year with McArthur on trial and the external independent reviews looking at how police handled the cases of missing people (including the missing men listed above) - these families will continue to struggle until they get the entire truth of what happened to their loved ones.
During our conversations, the families indicated that they were struggling to pay for costs associated with funeral planning, mental health services, and accommodations for relatives who would remain in Toronto until the trials are over.
I have been very outspoken since January on how racism, homophobia, and classism are large factors in the delay in finding the mostly racialized men professionally and personally. Unfortunately, due to legalities, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention cannot initiate a fundraiser for the grieving families. ASAAP’s Board of Directors has graciously granted me permission to conduct this fundraiser as a personal initiative to show support for the families. Click here for link to the statement.
The money raised will be divided equally among the six families. Out of respect for privacy their names are withheld, but they have been identified by the Toronto Police Service as next of kin for all victims. A lawyer will be engaged to disburse the funds and I will ensure that the disbursement process is transparent. The lawyer is offering their services for free.
The fundraiser will run for one month from September.12.2018 to November.12.2018.
I have been a part of this journey on a professional level in public, and on a personal level in private. As a gay Tamil man, I was deeply affected when I found out that one of the men who was missing for eight years was a Tamil from Sri Lanka. I empathize with these families and have experienced firsthand what it’s like to grow up in a single parent household, living in social housing. When my father passed away, my mother had to put food on the table with what little she had after having to pay for funeral costs.
I am asking for your support to help alleviate some of the financial burdens of these families as they deal with grief and loss, and their own trauma due to the unfathomable circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones. Your generosity and support will be tremendously appreciated.
DonationsSee top donations
- Maleeha Malik
- Carly Rhiannon
- Michael Fanous
- Nelson Carvalho
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more