Audio of an April 2021 confrontation between the CEO of an influential Canadian equity firm—which lists several U.S.-based companies and organizations as clients—and a Toronto principal who killed himself in the aftermath was released in August.
Kike Ojo-Thompson, a Toronto-based diversity trainer and founder and CEO of the KOJO Institute, told a class of about 200 administrators that Canada is more racist than the United States, according to a lawsuit filed by Richard Bilkszto in April.
Richard Bilkszto, a progressive and principal of Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute and Adult Learning Center, challenged Ojo-Thompson’s assumption by citing Canada’s publicly funded education system and socialized health care, according to the lawsuit and audio obtained by The Free Press.
“What I’m finding interesting is that, in the middle of this Covid disaster, where the inequities in this fair and equal healthcare system have been properly shown to all of us. . . you and your whiteness think that you can tell me what’s really going on with black people—like, is that what you’re doing, ‘cause I think that’s what you’re doing, but I’m not sure, so I’m going to leave you space to tell me what you’re doing right now,” she responded.
Bilkszto killed himself July 11. Several of his friends noted that he was not doing well and struggled after the public discussion with Ojo-Thompson because he felt his character was assassinated for being labeled a “white supremacist,” The Free Press reported.
The DEI consultants—and all the businesses, nonprofits, and school districts that hire them—are now “on notice” that these training sessions “can have horrendous, real-world consequences,” Ari Goldkind, a Toronto attorney, told The Free Press.
“There’s a real possibility here that, moving forward, the DEI training session becomes much more litigious, with attendees who feel put upon or hurt or maligned, dangerously maligned—meaning they’re ostracized or rendered unemployable—striking back in court,” Goldkind told The Free Press. “That’s the lesson of this tragedy, that people are sick and tired of being isolated and cast out from polite society because they have the gall to ask a question or challenge the orthodoxy.”
The global DEI market is estimated to be $7.5 billion in 2020, according to a McKinsey & Co. report. The U.S. market for DEI is estimated to be $4.3 Billion in 2022, and global DEI budgets are projected to reach $24.3 billion by 2030, according to Report Linker.
While Initial reports, including from Fox News, indicate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a client, Campus Reform was unable to verify that based on her website. Another client of OJO-Thompson includes Developing Atlanta, Georgia’s first Environmental Justice program, although a cursory Google search does not draw results of the organization. The U.S.-based United Way Worldwide was listed as client, but it has since been taken off the KOJO Institute’s website.
Republished with permission from Campus Reform