Addressing Anti Black Racism
Governed by civil legislation, we are also a faith-based agency that is guided and inspired by the Catholic values of care, compassion, and community. We uphold a deeply held Christian commitment to social justice. As such, we are dedicated to honouring the sacredness of all human beings and the principle of solidarity with all who are marginalized in any way. We humbly confess our complicity in the systems and structures that oppress members of the African-Canadian and Indigenous communities but also profess our determination to work for greater equity, diversity and social justice.
Our Anti-Black Racism Statement can be found below, which further professes our determination to work for greater equity, diversity and social justice.
At the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, our programs strive to help children and youth build lifelong connections. We are working to offer Afrocentric programming that respects the wants and needs of black children and youth in care. We know that building their resiliency is directly connected to engagement with birth families, extended family and community. We are committed to children and youth maintaining strong ties to their race, culture and community. In recognition of this, we have created our own youth group that is designed to connect Black/African Canadian children and youth in care to their racial identity. Group members are exposed to and learn about the African diaspora including African, Caribbean and Canadian culture and traditions. The activities and events that the youth participate in promote the developing of a healthy Black identity, inclusive of all of its intersections. African Canadian staff from all levels of the agency, participate in this group on an ongoing basis.
Our agency is committed to implementing the 11 Race Equity Practices contained within the One Vision One Voice practice framework. The initiatives from this framework are poised to change the Ontario Child Welfare system to better service African Canadian children, youth and families. One Vision One Voice (OVOV) document.
- Black History is celebrated ongoingly throughout the year. Events that have taken place include; a screening of Black Panther, presentation by Hamilton Youth Poets (HYP) attendance at the Harriet Tubman one woman show, Black History month celebrations at Stewart Memorial Church (Hamilton’s oldest African Canadian community church); Participation in Black History month events in Hamilton; Attendance at Power UP! events specifically designed for Black youth in care and facilitated by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS)
- Annual Christmas Celebration where children and youth celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in addition to experiencing Christmas traditions from the African Diaspora.
- Black cultural media events such as screening the live action “Lion King” movie, & The Toronto Caribbean film festival.
CCASH has created an African Canadian Affinity Group called Ubuntu-“I am because we are”. This group is comprised of black staff that represent the diversity of the African diaspora. We gather to provide a space such that concerns related to our experiences of anti-black racism can be discussed, support to one another can be deepened, mentorship opportunities can be created and collectively, we highlight concerns within our service delivery, to which leadership needs to direct their attention. Ubuntu provides ongoing support, in a wraparound way, to facilitate the development of positive black identity in our children and youth in care.