Former inner-city youth seeks council seat

Tosin Bello

By Gerald V. Paul

Tosin Bello was born and raised on the streets of Rexdale with the temptation of gangs and the lack of a father figure but through it all, he is eyes are set like a flint: he wants to become a Councillor in the City of Windsor.
Bello, a motivational speaker, life coach, author and consultant whose passion is empowering youth and professionals to have a larger vision for their lives, earned a BComm from the University of Windsor.
His childhood and adolescent years consisted of a contstant struggle with his own personal identity issues which were intensified due to the rough neighborhood, temptation of gangs and the lack of a father figure. At the age of 14, defiant and hardheaded, Tosin hung out with the wrong crowd, many of which were drop-outs, imprisoned or gang affiliated. Tosin built up his street credibility by fighting; he became the neighborhood enforcer, collecting unpaid debts to the crypt gang and selling coveted clothing brands in the black market. A war ensued between the gangs in the Rexdale, resulting in targeted shootings throughout the neighborhood. Tosin escaped a drive-by shooting; however, a number of his friends weren’t as fortunate. Once his mother caught wind of the gang violence, she decided to leave Rexdale and relocated to Maple, opting to live off the streets of Rexdale, Ontario, hoping the change would encourage him to go in the right direction.
Having come from an urban ghetto, Tosin experienced a complete culture shock once he settled into the community in Maple, ON. He was forced to interact with a predominantly Caucasian suburban community, worlds away from the black dominated urban ghetto he had become familiar with.
However, old habits are hard to break. He struggled with identity issues again, in an effort to maintain his bad boy image and resist the suburban lifestyle he found himself in many schoolyard fights until he had a breakthrough-he had nothing to prove anymore. He was now able to express himself without being scrutinized by peers, and his days of looking over his shoulder in fear of his safety were over. This allowed him to search within himself and make a conscious decision to change the course of his life.
Bello is standing on the shoulders of and following in the footsteps of the Underground Black Railroad of those who went before him in Windsor Essex Pelee Island region.
He reached back to his peers and helped many of them get their GED’s and go to University. He had them incorporate the self-improvement exercises he learned for himself in order to assist them in developing their own life plans.
A fundraising reception will be held for Bello at the Real Jerk restaurant, 842 Gerrard Street East, on October 27 from 7 – 9 p.m.
Bello is also seeking volunteer to help with his campaign. “If you have just 3 hours, you can help get the word out,” the candidate said.
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