Ontario Now Has its First Anti-Black Racism Strategy

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It’s no secret that over the past few years, activists have done their best to draw attention to and raise awareness of specific and difficult issues facing the Black community and other people of colour. Now, it seems like the province is taking a step to address those issues.

On December 14, 2017, the province released its first Anti-Black Racism Strategy ever.

This is big news — it’s essentially a roadmap to address the disparities Black Ontarians face every day.

That includes the “intergenerational impacts of slavery, an extended history of racial stigmatization and ongoing systemic racism,” according to the province.

As of now, the strategy more specifically aims to eliminate barriers for Black Ontarians in the child welfare, justice, and education systems.

Here is what the province has outlined as the goals of the strategy:

  • Setting long-term targets to reduce disparities for Black Ontarians in the child welfare, justice and education systems
  • Creating anti-racism tools to support transformation within the government
  • Partnering with organizations that serve a high percentage of Black Ontarians to run pilot projects to understand how anti-Black racism manifests and work in real time to address it
  • Fostering stronger relationships with the Black community
  • Increasing public awareness and understanding of systemic racism and its impacts on Black communities.

"Everyone in Ontario has the right to lead a life free of prejudice and discrimination,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne in a recent statement.

“We can't stand by and allow systemic racism to persist -- it is wrong. And it's up to all of us to tackle these issues head-on. When Black people in Ontario are victimized or discriminated against in any way, we are all diminished. With the launch of this Anti-Black Racism Strategy, we are making ourselves accountable in the fight to eliminate the discrimination and inequality that Ontario's Black community continues to endure.”

From 2001 to 2016, Ontario’s Black population increased more than 50 per cent. In fact, five per cent of Ontario’s population is Black.

So, the strategy will affect a lot of people — that’s a whopping 627,000 residents.

Actually, of the all of the racialized people under the age of 15, 20 per cent are Black, according to the province.

There is a program in place to support Black youth — the program, which was launched this summer and is titled Together We Can, will also aim to help Black children and youth build cultural awareness and identity.

With our growing population, by 2036, racialized people will account for about 48 per cent of Ontario residents.

As for the Anti-Black Racism Strategy, it’s part of A Better Way Forward: Ontario's 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan which was released earlier this year, building “on decades of activism, research and reports calling for government action to address anti-Black racism.”

Hopefully, this will address a need in our community.

For more details on the strategy, click here.

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