Program Manager Job Posting

Job Posting

York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (The Alliance) an advocacy and community service entity, is seeking an experienced Program Manager to lead the operations of our organization.
The right candidate will possess the following qualities:

• Experienced in, group leadership, and program development skills.
• A sound understanding of African history, youth maturation processes, and a lived understanding of issues, currently confronting Black youth.
• Results oriented
• An excellent communicator
• A team player

Responsibilities

• Report to the Board of Directors and keep them informed
• Develop and implement operational plans and policies
• Provide oversight to a Youth Mentorship Program
• Create an environment that promotes great performance
• Oversee fiscal activity, including budgeting and reporting
• Assure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations
• Identify and address opportunities, risks and threats for the organization
• Build alliances and partnerships within and outside the sector as appropriate
• Client support and referral

Requirements

• University degree, or equivalent combination of education and experience, in Social Work, or other Human services disciplines
• Minimum 3 years proven experience in a senior management position in a community based non-profit organization.
• Knowledge of general finance and budgeting.
• Strong computer skills with knowledge of Windows, MS Office, and Internet.

• Ability to build consensus and relationships among, board, volunteers, clients, and partners.
• Ability to understand new issues quickly and make wise decisions
• Ability to inspire confidence and create trust
• Effective communication (written and oral), and presentation skills
• Ability to work under pressure, plan personal workload effectively

Working Conditions
• The Program manager usually works in an office environment, but the mission of the organization frequently requires work out in the community
• The manager works a standard work week, but additionally will often work evening, weekends, and flexible hours to accommodate activities of the Mentorship Program, Board meetings, and representing the organization at various events.

Contract Position, 2+ years
Remuneration competitive within the sector

Email your resume to: info@yorkregionaacc.ca (Deadline Nov.30th 2018)

No phone enquiry
YRAACC, an equal opportunity employer, will respond only to candidates selected for interviews.

Sankofa Mentoring Program

The Sankofa Youth Mentoring Program

Two Locations : Markham and Vaughan, starting 2019 (1st Qtr.)
A legacy4Youth
Ages 12 to16
“Bridging the past with the Present ..Navigating the Present into the Future”

A Youth mentoring , Life –skills Program Rooted in an African Centered Rites of Passage Process, utilizing the Nguzo Saba ( Seven Principles )

  1. Unity
  2. Self-Determination
  3. Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. Cooperative Economics
  5. Purpose
  6. Creativity
  7. Faith
    + Self-Respect

Objectives

  • Building a strong Cultural Identity
  • Promote Positive Social and Emotional Skills
  • Develop Civic Engagement / Leadership
  • Promote Holistic Health and Safety
  • Promote Civic Engagement & Environmental Responsibilities
  • Enhance Self-Confidence and Leadership
  • Enhance Academic Performance and Self-Efficacy
  • Improve Family Relationship and Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Expose Diverse Career Options , Employment and Entrepreneurship
  • Recognize and Promote Excellence..
  • Demonstrate through mentoring that “ It takes a village to raise a good child”

Letter to YRP Chief : Appointment of the new Deputy Chief of Police Robertson Rouse

Chief Eric Jolliffe                                                                                      July 26th 2018
York Regional Police Headquarters
47 Don Hillock Drive
Aurora, ON
L4G 0S7

Re.: The appointment of the new Deputy Chief of Police Robertson Rouse

Dear Chief Jolliffe,

On behalf of the York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC), I commend you and the York Regional Police Services Board for appointing 30-year veteran Robertson Rouse as the newest Deputy Chief of York Regional Police.

The appointment of Superintendent Rouse to his freshly minted post within your executive team is an exceptional choice in light of his considerable body of work over the years and lived experience as a member of an equity seeking racialized community.

The current appointment along with that of Deputy Chief Crawford, are indicative of your thoughtfulness, keen judgement and wholehearted commitment to community (Not to mention, your often–thankless work towards equitable outcomes for all marginalized communities/identities.). The aforementioned appointments are hallmarks of your tenure at the helm of The YRP, our local force ; They are a part of a legacy that will live on in the hearts and minds of many as both senior officers toil to further your vision of inclusion.

We hope the present and future York Regional Police Command Team will amplify your work to enhance–and in many cases–re-imagine the work of the force towards a culture of community engagement, the removal of systemic barriers, the implementation of inclusive services and the hiring and development of a diverse staffing complement despite the current climate.

Your courageous leadership, unwavering integrity and accessibility are centerpieces of what you mean to the region and beyond. You are appreciated!

Respectfully,

Lee Miller,
Chair

“AN ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE, AMPLIFYING THE VOICE OF OUR COMMUNITY”

Vision: A cohesive and influential York Region African Canadian Community.
Mission: To facilitate the cultivation of a progressive York Region African Canadian Community, through advocacy, resource development and service delivery as it relates to culture, education, employment, social services and governmental responsibilities.
www.yorkregionaacc.ca 1070 Major Mackenzie Dr. Richmond Hill, Ontario PO Box 5042 L4S 0B7

YRAACC First Black History Month Event

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC) first Black History Month event was held on February 17, 2018, at Thornlea Secondary School, and has now become part of our new Canadian Black History. However, there is still more history to be made going forward. The event began with the drum call by Tam Tam foil (Kwabena McRae and Peter Amponsah). Ann Marie Campbell, VP YRAACC welcomed everyone to the occasion and handed over leadership for the event to the co-emcees Anita McFarlane and Jhamari Hussey. Anita shared the purpose of the YRAACC which is to cultivate a progressive community through advocacy, resource development, and service. As of January 2016, YRAACC is a registered Ontario non- profit organization. The focus for the organization is towards improvements in the areas of culture, education, employment, social services and government responsibilities within York Region as a whole.

 

Michelle White, a singer, songwriter, and classically trained pianist performed both the Black National Anthem and the Canadian National Anthem. Some dignitaries attended the event and shared their support to the African Canadian community. These dignitaries included the Deputy Mayor of Markham, Jack Heath, and our Federal MP, Mary Ng who greeted the group and shared their support for our Black community. From the school boards, Director of the YRDSB, Louise Sirisko and the Chair of YRDSB Corrie McBain. Other dignitaries in the audience include We have Marlene Mogado, YCDSB Trustee for Markham and Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong in the audience today. We would also like to acknowledge our Acting Director of Education, Diane Murgaski. York Regional Police (YRP) Chief Eric Jolliffe, Deputy Chief Thomas Carrique and the other members of YRP.

 

Jason Lindo a Grammy award nominee 2016 (the youngest Jamaican artist to be nominated) performed inspiring and encouraging songs. Kelise Fullerton, a spoken word artist, shared a thought-provoking piece. Winston Miller was the moderator for the panel discussion which highlighted the achievements and contributions of people of African ancestry to this great country and the York Region specifically. It includes a panel discussion with groundbreakers in York Region:

  • Deputy Chief André Crawford – the first Black YRP deputy chief and has over three decades of service with the York Regional Police (YRP) and received many awards for his exemplary service
  • Superintendent Camille Logan – the first Black female York Region District School Board (YRDSB) superintendent and has worked with the YRDSB for over 25 years with current responsibility for 18 schools
  • Justice of the Peace Tessa Benn-Ireland – the first YRDSB Black school trustee who also served for ten years with the Ontario Court as well as held many other influential positions in other community organizations

The event included a phenomenal speaker:

  • Garfield Miller – the first Black graduate of the University of Toronto Medical School ophthalmology program

Dr. Garfield Miller grew up in Markham and had his primary and Secondary Education at Central Park public school and Markville High School respectively. He graduated high school in 1998, a year in which the York region district School Board honored his academic achievement, received the Harry Jerome Award for academics. Lee Miller, YRAACC chair thanked all attendees on behalf of the YRAACC. He also thanked the YRAACC planning committee: Ann Marie Campbell, Vice Chair, Winston Miller, Treasurer, Sophie McKenzie, Jeffrey Thompson, Josie Rose, Cheryl Yarde, and Evelyn Pierre.  He encouraged all attendees to network with each other and supported the vendors present. The vendors in the Black Marketplace included:

There was also an opportunity to network with many York Region public service agencies, and community organizations such as:

The goal of the event was to uplift families by bridging the past with the present and navigating the present into the future. Attendees were encouraged to meet with at least ten new individuals and share experiences with them. We are thankful to Snapd for their coverage of our event. Here are the Snapd photos.

 

 

YRACC Activities 2016 -2017

YRAACCC Progress

York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (The Alliance or YRAACC) is an Ontario registered Non-profit organization with a vision to create a cohesive and influential York Region African Canadian community.

Our strategy includes advocacy and service provision primarily to the marginalized among the African Canadian community, amplifying their voice, and facilitating dialogue with policy makers to correct issues negatively affecting our community.

The past two years (2015 – 2017) have been focused on advocacy, primarily in two areas, Child Welfare and Education. The two priorities were selected, from a wide range of issues affecting the black community in York Region, by consensus at a community round table.
1. Child welfare, due to disproportionate number of black children in care, concerns about cultural identity, and the interest of the Provincial government in instituting change

2. Education, due to recurring racist incidents in York Region schools, disproportionate number of blacks in applied as opposed to academic streams, and an administration that ignores community concerns.

Activities included:

 Participation in consultations on “One Vision One Voice”, (OVOV) a collaborative framework for addressing problems of black children in care by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and the Ontario Ministry of Youth and Children Services.

 Followed up with meetings with The Executive Director and senior management of the York Children’s Aid Society (YCAS) advocating for the implementation of OVOV.

 We have provided specific practical recommendations, and continue to dialogue with CAS officials and their monitor progress.

 Met with the Director, and senior administrators of the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) on several occasions to discuss concerns about equity and inclusivity as it affects black students:
 We were active participants in lobbying for change in organizational culture, leadership, and policy direction.
 Met with and shared recommendations with the Ministry of Education reviewers of YRDSB, as well as communicated directly with the office of the Minister about our concerns. Communication channels remain open.
 We noted that many of our recommendations were included in the Minister’s directives for change to the YRDSB.
 Met with, and maintaining communication with the new Chair of YRDSB, monitoring the proposed changes, which will benefit our community.
 Met with the Human Resources consultants who are managing the recruitment of a new Director of Education YRDSB, articulating our concerns, and expectations.

 Other activities included, meeting with the York Regional Police command to discuss ‘Carding’, its impact on young black men, as well as their implementation of the new “Street Check” (carding) regulations.

 Participated in several consultation meetings of the ‘Ontario Black Youth Action Plan’ (OBYAP).

 We have led a consortium of partners including, Boards of Education, Police, Mental Health services, and others in applying for funding through the OBYAP to provide mentoring and other services to  black youth ( Age 12 to 16 ) in York Region. We await a decision.

 In Partnerships with the York Regional Police and The York District School Board , we held our 1st Annual Cultural Summer Camp at Castlemore Public School in Markham (July – August 2017)

 

Children Aid Society (CAS) AND THE AFRICAN CANADIAN COMMUNITY

CAS AND THE AFRICAN CANADIAN COMMUNITY
By: KC Agyeman May 29th 2017

**Disclaimer: I write this piece as a member of the African Canadian community, and make no representations on behalf of any of Ontario’s Child Welfare Agencies. The following is based on my experience as a Child Welfare Worker and should be considered as a guide rather than a precise rendering of what occurs when African Canadian families come into contact with Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies**

Over the past 2 years, there has been an increased focus on the experiences of African Canadian children and families in contact with Child’s Aid Societies (CAS’s) across the province of Ontario. This attention, particularly by the media, has been warranted by years of differential treatment of African Canadian families by Ontario’s Child Welfare System. The ominous nature of CAS’s presence is the African Canadian community is fueled most prominently by the disproportionately high number of African Canadian children and youth in the care of the system, and the negative experiences these young people have upon being separated from their families and communities. Although some ground-breaking work is currently underway with the One Vision One Voice movement (OVOV), there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done, some of which can be accomplished by implementing the recommendations put forth by OVOV.

Some of the key recommendations are:
1. Collection of Data on Disproportionality and Disparities
2. Engagement of the African Canadian community
3. Education, Training, and Supports for staff
4. Dedicated Resources
5. Strengthening the ability of caregivers to provide appropriate care and support to African Canadian children and youth

(Source: One Vision One Voice: Changing the Ontario Child Welfare System To Better Serve African Canadians. Practice Framework Part 2: September 2016)

While some agencies are taking the recommendations under advisement and determining how best to work towards their implementation, many members of the African Canadian community may be left wondering what they can do if CAS comes knocking at their door. Below, I highlight some of the common occurrences leading to CAS involvement, what you can do upon contact with CAS.

COMMON OCCURENCES LEADING TO CAS INVOLVEMENT

Physical Abuse/Use of Excessive Discipline – This is defined in the Criminal Code of Canada (http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/fv-vf/mcb-cce/index.html). Most CAS’s take the stance that physical discipline should be used as a last resort, if at all. The general understanding is that physical discipline should not include the use of an instrument or closed fist. It should also not be used above the shoulders or below the knees.

Sexual Abuse – This is self explanatory, however, it is important to note that even in the absence of a disclosure by a child, or physical evidence of sexual harm, suspected sexual abuse or harm may also warrant an investigation. This may seem intrusive, however, given that many children often do not disclose sexual abuse, these investigations are an important part of the CAS mandate.

Suspicious/Unexplained Injuries – These are injuries that are not likely to have happened during the course of a child’s regular day-to-day routine. These injuries are either unexplained or the explanation offered is not consistent with the nature of the injury. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, caregivers can expect that the police and medical professionals will be a part of the investigative process.

Neglect Of Child Basic Needs – Not providing adequate food, clothing, or shelter. This area tends to be subjective as poverty often looks like neglect; also, personal biases play a role in the way that neglect is defined.

Lack Of Supervision – Not providing appropriate supervision of a child. It is important to note that the age of a child is not the only factor to be considered when leaving them home unattended. Parents and caregivers need to ensure that the child is mature enough to respond to an emergency should one arise in their absence. A great way to accomplish this is to establish a safety plan and ensure that your child is aware of the plan. Consider a trial run through of your safety plan with your child. This will help to reinforce the plan and increase your confidence that your child will be able to respond appropriately in case of emergency. Have an emergency contact person near by that can attend the home if necessary. Ensure your child is aware of how to contact this person, and that they know when to call 911. Parents should also ensure that the home environment is safe and comfortable, ie. There is a working phone in the home, utilities are operational, there are functioning locks on all doors and windows, there is adequate food in the home and that the child is able to prepare the food in a manner that is safe and age appropriate.

UPON CONTACT WITH CAS

Know Your Rights – All child welfare agencies have literature that outlines the rights of children and youth that are taken into the care of CAS. Some agencies also have similar literature for families that come into contact with CAS. You should request that this information be provided to you so that you are informed of your rights. Another helpful tool is the Child And Family Services Act (https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90c11 ). This act is lengthy, however it provides useful information for families engaged with CAS.

Be Honest and Encourage Your Children To Do The Same – The last thing anyone wants is for the story of their family to be written without their input. Providing context about the incident that has been reported to CAS allows the investigation to move forward more smoothly, and may lead to the file being closed in a timelier manner.

Accessibility Matters – If you require assistance to ensure that you are able to fully participate in the investigative process, make sure you access those that you already have, or request them from CAS. The most common support offered to families is language translation. It’s important to maximize your ability to understand what’s happening to your family by ensuring the right supports are available to you.

Provide Feedback – Child Welfare Agencies can only get better by being made aware of the concerns experienced by the community. Please take the time and opportunity to share your experience with CAS, and make sure you are aware of the complaints process should you need to utilize it.

Be Involved – When children are taken into the care of CAS, there are a serious of case conferences and/or planning meetings that allow parents and caregivers to get updates on how their child is doing, and to update their worker and CAS about their own progress towards addressing the child protection concern(s). These meetings are a critical aspect of CAS’s work with families, and therefore should not be missed. Depending on the nature of the child protection concerns, parents and caregivers may also be granted access to their child (supervised or unsupervised). These access visits are important to maintain the relationship between parents and their children, and sometimes may be the child’s only connection to their racial, cultural, or spiritual community.

The best-case scenario would be to never have contact with CAS in the first place, however, there is no guarantee of this. The follow are strategies you can use that will support your navigation of the child welfare system should your family become the subject of a CAS investigation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Educate Yourself
on The Legalities of Physical Discipline – The following is a link to the criminal code regarding physical discipline. http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/fv-vf/mcb-cce/index.html

Understand “Duty to Report” – This will help you understand why a teacher or community member contacted CAS before having a conversation with you. In this regard, it is sometimes useful to establish open communication with your child’s school or other community agencies that have regular contact with your child. This will help them understand you, your child, and your family, and know what to expect in terms of behaviours, etc. You still may not get that courtesy call you’re hoping for prior to CAS being called, but at least you’ve established open communication, this may inform how the incident/information is reported, which may in turn influence the trajectory of an investigation. The following link explains Duty To Report In Ontario http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/childrensaid/reportingabuse/abuseandneglect.aspx

Establish a Village – Taking care of and looking out for one another is a great way to ensure the needs of our children are met. Your village can also be active by advocating for meaningful change at your local CAS. Also, in the unfortunate event that your child is removed from your care, members of your village can be put forward as Kinship options for your child. Some examples of a village are: your family, friends, neighbours, community groups, and spiritual or religious communities. The following is a link to Ontario Associate of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) description of Kinship Service. http://www.oacas.org/2016/05/friends-and-family-first-how-childrens-aid-keeps-children-out-of-care/

Get Involved – Volunteer with your local CAS, inquire about how you can join the Board of Directors, attend community engagement events hosted by your local CAS or OACAS.

SUMMARY

Although CAS has an overwhelmingly negative reputation in the African Canadian community, it’s not all bad. There are many child welfare staff on the front lines and in management that are actively working to integrate the principles of Equity, Diversity, and Anti Oppressive Practice into their work with families, and they are making a difference. Despite this, there is great deal more that needs to be done, so that every African Canadian family that comes into contact with CAS has fair and equitable treatment. One Vision One Voice is not only a callout to our community, but a movement that is putting Ontario’s Child Welfare system on notice that the African Canadian community is watching, and we are expecting radical changes for the betterment of our children and families. This is only the beginning, let us always bear in mind that we are stronger together, and that our collective voices matter.

York Region African Canadian Cultural Camp

Vision:
A cohesive and influential York Region African Canadian community.

Mission:
To facilitate the cultivation of a progressive York Region African Canadian Community, through advocacy and resource development as it relates to culture, education, employment, social services and governmental responsibilities

York Region AACC in an Ontario registered Non-profit organization.
We do not purport to replace or compete with other Afro-centric organization in the region, but rather collaborate with the existing entities, taking a regional as opposed to a more parochial perspective.

Background

Racism and family challenges are among a complex set of problems that have led to black youth in our communities continuing to experience disproportionately negative outcomes, including unemployment, violence and a lack of opportunities. It is evidenced by:
• Over-representation of Black children and youth within the child welfare system
• Achievement gap between Black students and all students within the publicly-funded education system
• Disproportionate number of Black males involved in the youth justice and justice systems.

A part of the recurring problem is believed to lie in the lack of cultural identity and cultural consciousness which leads to a segment of our youth inventing their own culture, frequently with negative consequences.

The University of Houston-Victoria School of Arts and Sciences demonstrated through research that:
Significant positive relationships were found between Black consciousness and self-esteem and Black consciousness and academic self-efficacy. The results of the study showed that Black consciousness appears to be an important construct to use in understanding self-esteem and academic self-efficacy in African American men.

Another study also showed that black males who possess positive attitudes about their race tend to have a heightened sense of academic self-efficacy (Okech & Harrington, 2002).
Black youth in York Region, 3% of the diverse population, have the same negative experiences as their peers in other parts of the GTA.
There is a major void within YRDSB, YRCAS, The Faith Sector and The African Canadian Community in the celebration and maintenance of cultural practices and history of people of African Heritage.

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities, is committed to taking steps to close this gap, and proposes to start by piloting a program of raising cultural consciousness by way of an afro-centric summer program for African Canadian students.
It is imperative that we engage our children in positive behaviors and cultural consciousness at the early stages of their lives, opening a portal to a safer and more cohesive community.

The Program

A York Region African Canadian Summer Cultural Program for Students of African Heritage between the ages of 9 – 15 years. (Maximum 20 Students)

The Program will be a 3 days per week schedule, (Tue-Thru) 5 hours per day, 10am to 3pm for 5 weeks. Starting the Week of July 16th 2017 and ending the week of August 13th 2017.

Activities will included for example:
 Introduction to African Studies relating to Africa, Canada and the Caribbean.
 Understanding and Practicing the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa.
 Presentations by African Canadian Role Models and Elders.
 The Teaching of African Drumming & Dancing.
 Ensemble.

The York Region African Canadian Summer Cultural Program for Students of African Heritage is aimed at consciousness raising and provides alternatives spheres of realities for Youth of African descent; drawing upon and integrating principles of the Nguzo Saba, (7 principles of Kwanzaa) eldership respect, healthy living, and community responsibility, all designed to contribute to protective factors (Gilbert et al., 2009). It also will incorporate traditional practices, education, and arts such as drum and dance.
Activities and discussions will lead to answers to the following questions (Paul Hill NROP)
1. Who am I?
• What values, history, traditions and cultural precepts do I recognize, respect, and continue:
2. How did I come to be who I am?
• What were/are the forces, events, people which have come together to frame who I am?
3. Am I really who I think I am?
• To what extent do I understand, internalize, employ, and reflect the cultural authenticity of my origins?
4. What is my life purpose? (What are my Goals).

Expected Results

Program participants have increased cultural consciousness and self esteem, and expresses a motivation to maintain high morals, and excel academically. (Pre and post program interviews conducted)

Budget

ITEMS AMOUNT UNIT COST TOTAL
Drums 10 $ 400.00 $ 4,000.00
Lunch 300 $ 10.00 $ 3,000.00
Honorarium 15 $ 100.00 $ 1,500.00
Salary (3 x 75 Hrs) 225 $ 15.00 $ 3,375.00
Accessories / Stationaries 1 $ 300.00 $ 300.00
Subtotal $ 12,175.00
Contingency 10% $ 1,217.50
Insurance $ 750.00
$ 14,142.50

Facility Rental $ 4,500.00

$ 18,642.50

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities is actively seeking partnerships with government, public and private sector and civil society organizations through funding or in-kind support to make this summer program for African Canadian Students a reality.

The Camp is intended to enhance the participants Cultural Identity from a Collective Impact model CI-sq.
Students and their parents, government stakeholders, community leaders and philanthropists will support from a holistic perspective, each partner reinforcing and contributing to the importance of the expected outcome.

Email: info@yorkregionaacc.ca www.yorkregionaacc.ca

Phone: Lee Miller 416 688 2813

Submission to Reviewers (YRDSB Why Community Concern)

February 2, 2017

Review of York Region District School Board

The York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities wish to thank the Review Panel for inviting us to share our perspective on issues with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB).
WE have been concerned with YRDSB’s commitment to equity in general, and specifically a lack of actions and or slow response to anti-Black racism incidents within the board.
Our confidence in the board has been eroded gradually over the past several years due to a number of instances, and examples, many of which have been documented and/or published are provided as follows:

1. Senior staff not understanding the demonstration of some subtle forms of racism in schools, such as, the offensive meaning of the display of Confederate flags to Blacks
2. The Board “put on indefinite hold” diversity staff training. Yet several senior Board members are perceived to lack understanding / training on Equity and diversity.

3. The Board ignored the concerns of parents and community when they met with the then director and senior staff in May 2014 (The Chair at that time concurred with the lack of action). The same concerns have now risen to crisis proportions.
We noted a recent similar situation, where on December 7, 2016, we met with, and provided the current Director and senior staff specific remedial recommendations, and there was an understanding that they would provide us with a response, which eventually was made on January 31, 2017, somewhat under duress.

4. The Board was consistently silent on incidents of blatant anti-black racism, and also that there was an absence of strong condemnation of incidents of racial and ethno-cultural harassment.
5. The Board ‘quietly’ disbanded the equity committee, which left the impression to many parents of racialized students, that Diversity is unimportant to the Province’s third largest public board.
6. The Superintendent with responsibility for equity issues was frequently uninformed or uninvolved in the handling of racism incidents leading to our impression that there was no real role or expectations in dealing with anti black racism issues.
7. The continued fear of staff to express their opinion or concerns on these matters. We are aware of at least two staff who have expressed their concerns publicly, which echoes the community concerns, and now await the ‘punishment’ with some trepidation.

We take the opportunity here to share with you the recommendations we offered to the Director and Senior staff as well as follow-up comments we provided the day after we met.

December 7, 2016
To: The Director, York Region District School Board

Following up on our meeting of September 19th 2016 and the issues leading up to the intervention by the Ontario Minster of Education.
Our community desires restored confidence in the York Region District School Board.
We propose the Implementation of the following recommendations, confident that it will set us on that path
1. Training
a. Establish and maintain Equity and Inclusivity training at all level, sequentially work from the most senior leadership including trustees down to frontline staff, on an ongoing basis.
b. Develop a compelling strategy for the participation of all schools and staff in the observance and understanding of Black History Month and other significant cultural learning opportunities.

2. Processes for Handling Racism
a. Develop a transparent process for addressing racist behaviours by staff including a restorative framework that is harmonious with victims and community expectations.
b. Develop a transparent process for addressing racist behaviors by students including the prompt engagement of related parents / caregivers.
c. The above processes should include mandatory reporting, and that the recording of, and the repository for data on all racist incidents by an office for equity , inclusivity and community services lead by the coordinating superintendent, who will be responsible for monitoring the processes, and ensuring strict adherence to the values and anti-racism policies of the board.

3. Policy advice and development
a. Reconstitute the Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee so that the Equity and Inclusivity Coordinating Superintendent chair it.
b. The development of a framework for determining the reasons for, and finding solutions to, the disproportionate level of students of color who are suspended or expelled.
c. The collection of data by race / ethnicity of expulsion, suspension, achievement, underachievement, and special program representation.
d. Strengthen the curriculum by finding ways that reflect the diversity of York Region students, including partnerships with ethnic communities on cultural education.
e. Maintain Constructive dialog with the African Canadian, Islamic, and other ethnic communities.
f. The implementation of an equitable hiring and promotion strategy / process including a leadership program to develop administrators that reflects the diversity of York Region.

We sincerely hope our recommendations (copy attached) will be given serious consideration, and that they will be reflected in action steps taken by the board to address identified concerns within the equity and inclusivity portfolio.
The YRAACC would like to reiterate the high importance of equity training, which is lacking, for all staff, and trustees, with an emphasis of leading by example. The resumption of the ‘Tina Lopes equity training’ that was “put on hold” could be a good place to start.

Regarding the discussion on transparency, we encourage you to be sensitive to the impact on victims of racism as you weigh the balance between privacy of the perpetrators, and the greater good. There is a need to find means to be responsive to the aggrieved parties, and your community constituents, while staying within the confines of the law.

We also wish to state that we agree with you that the collection of race – based data is not just a York Region, but also a Provincial best practise.
We are also convinced that the YRDSB has the option now to ‘lead the way’ in the absence of Ministry regulation, or framework. Precedence has shown that the Ministry do in fact look to the leaders, and the experienced, to be their advisors when they do consider such policy changes. YRDSB has an opportunity to be on the leading edge of this progressive step, and adjustments can be made to adapt to Provincial standards later if what is in place at YRDSB fall below any new minimum standards.

Respectfully submitted
Sincerely
Lee Miller
Chair
www.yorkregionaacc.ca email: info@yorkregion.ca

YRAACC_Logo@2x

York Region African Canadian organization formed to fill void.

On-going community discussions on the formation of an African Canadian organization with a regional perspective, have led to the recent creation of the York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities (YRAACC).

Mobilized by a unified vision, the York Region Alliance of African Canadian Communities is now an incorporated non-profit organization.

YRAACC Vision

A cohesive and influential York Region African Canadian community.

YRACC Mission:

To facilitate the cultivation of a progressive York Region African Canadian Community, through advocacy, resource development and service delivery as it relates to culture, education, employment, social services and governmental responsibilities.

The YRAACC was established to build an inclusive, representative and effective community-based entity in York Region; one that would represent the best interests of members of the African Canadian community who reside across all nine municipalities ( Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Newmarket, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and Whitchurch-Stouffville),

The African Canadian community in York Region is robust, hard working and filled with skills and many assets. However, equitable access to public and social services, meaningful representation and addressing serious issues like systemic racism, structural poverty and violence are serious concerns in York Region for members of the African Canadian community..

As citizens of York Region, we consider ethical transparency, anti-racism, equity, access, inclusion, accountability and respect to be vital in
the cultivation of progressive communities. While we are of the African-Canadian community, we acknowledge and respect all races, religions and cultures.

YRAAC Objectives:

  • To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equity and growth of all citizens of Canada, especially in York Region by evoking civic engagements
  • To advocate for progressive changes on behalf of the diverse communities, especially African-Canadian, on various educational, economic, and social issues.
  • To celebrate and promote the cultural diversity among communities, especially that of African-Canadians.
  • To facilitate, cultivate, and integrate opportunities for equitable access to community resources for York Region African-Canadian residents and employees.

We will achieve these goals by building and maintaining partnerships with other African Canadian organizations as well as other justice -seeking groups in York Region, and the broader Greater Toronto Area.

YRAAC has already begun building a database of York Region residents in order to establish a relationship with as many citizens as possible.

Our immediate priorities include

  1. An advocacy and collaboration focus on child welfare services to African Canadian children, youth and families within both York Region Children’s Aid Society, and Boards of Education
  2. Elderly care as it relates to access for equitable, safe and quality health care services for African Canadian seniors.

For more info contact:
Lee Miller: yorkregionaacc@gmail.com