Hamilton advocacy groups team up to consult Black students about school experiences

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Published July 27, 2021 at 2:48 am

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A pair of Hamilton organizations are teaming up to find out how schools in the city can better serve Black teenagers.

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) and Hamilton Students for Justice (HS4J) are inviting Black teenagers to dialogue about COVID-19 isolation, bullying, mental health, inclusion and racism over the next few weeks. The consultation sessions will be over Zoom and they are open to all Black students aged 13 to 19 who are attending a school in one of the four public school boards. Black caregivers (parents, families, guardians and siblings) are welcome to attend during the final two sessions.

Recommendations will then be drafted for all four Hamilton school boards: the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB), Conseil Scolaire Catholique MonAvenir  and Conseil Scolaire Viamonde can attend. 

All consultation participants will be compensated with a $50 gift card to the establishment of their choice. No experience is required to participate. 

Sessions intend to create safe spaces for Black youth and families to discuss issues facing Black students in Hamilton schools. 

All sessions will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. over the next three weeks, starting on Tuesday (July 27) and wrapping up on Aug. 12. French and American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available at all sessions. 

Caregiver sessions will take place on Aug. 17 and 19.

A survey regarding issues including mental health, COVID-19, anti-Black racism and more will be available for Black secondary (and recently graduated) students and Black caregivers (parents, guardians, siblings, etc.) associated with any of Hamilton’s publicly funded school boards on Aug. 2. Those who complete the survey will also be compensated with a $50 CAD gift card to the establishment of their choice.

The initiative is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

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