We recognize this statement is a bare minimum and just the beginning for us.
Racism exists in Ottawa and affects children, youth and their families. Racialized children and youth are subjected to systemic racism on a daily basis, and they suffer long-term negative consequences.
This is unacceptable.
The Ottawa Child & Youth Initiative’s (OCYI) mission is to support Ottawa’s children and youth to grow up great. We acknowledge that the work of our network has been complicit in systemic racism against Black, Indigenous, and persons of colour in our community, either by holding up historical systems or by staying silent. We do not tolerate this status quo. We are committed to making changes in our organization and speaking up to help the most vulnerable members of our community. No individual, agency or organization can address all of these needs at once, and that is why OCYI is working to foster the necessary collaboration and education across our network to ensure Ottawa’s Black, Indigenous, and racialized children and youth can grow up great.
What OCYI is doing?
- Incorporating an anti-racism lens to our strategic plan, acknowledging that improving the social-emotional health and well-being of children and youth means working against the effects of racism
- Examining local data to understand how high school graduation rates are impacted by race and other markers of how systemic racism has negatively affected an individual (e.g. cycle of poverty, mental health, physical health)
- Where data is missing, forward working with network members to measure the effects of racism, including capturing race-based data and where other forms of discrimination intersect with race
- The OCYI Steering Committee is adopting a strategic plan to measure changes in social-emotional health and well-being by monitoring inequity in high school graduation rates, and then working with our network members to set actionable goals to reduce that inequity
- Adding a multi-cultural lens and training to our work with critical hours/after school programs
- Using our community position to name and call attention to racism, and enabling our network members to move toward corrective action
If you have any questions, please contact OCYI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Bell, OCYI co-chair
Brett Reynolds, OCYI co-chair
Karen Kennedy, OCYI project coordinator
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