Hamilton Centre NDP MP Matthew Green defended the controversial “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) consultancy KOJO Institute and its founder Kike Ojo-Thompson, claiming they are being targeted by “right wing media pundits” and “the violence of white supremacy.” 

As previously reported by True North, a lawsuit alleges that TDSB principal Richard Bilkszto was bullied, shamed, humiliated and labelled a “white supremacist” at an “anti-racism” session by the KOJO Institute after he challenged Ojo-Thompson’s claim that Canada is far more racist than the United States. The suit also claims Ojo-Thompson subsequently suggested that the TDSB take action against Bilkszto for allegedly choosing not to “unlearn” his white supremacism.

The 60-year-old principal later committed suicide. His family claims that he was plagued with stress stemming from the confrontation at the training.

The lawsuit has yet to be served, and the allegations have not been proven in court. Ojo-Thompson has denied the allegations.

At a pro-DEI press conference held in Hamilton last Friday, Green, who describes himself on X (formerly Twitter) as an “antiracist” and “antifascist,” claimed that “right wing media pundits” are seeking to “weaponize this moment of tragedy against Kike and the KOJO Institute.”

Green went on to say that “every single speaker” at the DEI press conference “could have been Kike, could have been the KOJO Institute, could have been targeted by the violence of white supremacy, online and in our communities.”

The NDP MP thanked Ojo-Thompson for her DEI work, as well as everyone who has stood in solidarity with her amid the backlash she has received. 

“Thank you… Kike and the KOJO Institute, and all those who stood in solidarity with her in that moment.” 

Green also said that Bilkszto’s death will not be allowed to be used as an opportunity “to roll back the decades of hard fought work in our communities,” and that DEI activists “are not going anywhere.”

“We will continue to stand firm in the face of the ignorance and the violence that is out there.”

Green finished off by telling Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government that he and other DEI activists won’t let them implement policies inspired by Florida governor Ron DeSantis – who has banned Critical Race Theory and gender ideology in K-12 education.

“To Doug Ford and Minister Stephen Lecce, I say this: if you want to seek to use this to roll back EDI curriculum and turn Ontario into a Ron DeSantis Florida, we’re here to tell you that’s not gonna happen in Ontario, and we’ll fight you every step of the way.”

Green is not the only NDP politician to defend DEI amid the ideology and its training being under intense scrutiny.

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles also urged Ford not to “roll back anti-racism work in schools,” amid Education Minister Stephen Lecce ordering a review of the circumstances surrounding Bilkszto’s suicide and telling his staff to review school trainings. 

“Anti-racism training directly corresponds to safer learning environments for Black and racialized students. We share in advocates’ concerns that the review of this unfortunate death will lead to a rollback of important equity work underway in school boards across the province. This work includes equity training and having courageous conversations about race,” said Stiles in a press release.

She added that her party has “long called for a comprehensive anti-racism strategy for schools that addresses and fights anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism.”

Lecce’s office has told told CP24 that DEI training in Ontario schools will continue, calling it “important work.”

Green’s office did not return True North’s request for comment in time for publication.