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.
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)