The City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit (CABR) is responsible for rolling out the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. The action plan is SMART – strategic and specific; measurable; achievable; relevant and realistic; and timely. Most importantly, it responds to the priorities identified by Toronto’s diverse Black communities.
Black Torontonians (African descent or origin, African Black Caribbean, African-Canadian, Canadians of African descent) are contributing to all areas of city life-adding their talents and assets to make Toronto stronger, more vibrant and more successful.
However, studies continue to show that anti-Black racism still exists in this city, affecting the life chances of more than 200,000 people of African descent or origin who call Toronto home. Anti-Black racism has had detrimental impacts on the life and work of Black people in our city.
As the government closest to the people, the City of Toronto recognizes its responsibility to create a city that works for all residents. Confronting and removing barriers caused by Anti-Black Racism benefits all Torontonians, especially other Toronto communities experiencing racism and marginalization.
To begin confronting anti-Black racism in Toronto, City Council adopted on December 5, 2017 the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.
The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism is the result of a collaborative effort between the City of Toronto and Torontonians of African descent. The review of 41 years of reports and recommendations on anti-Black racism formed the basis for 41 community conversations in partnership with 18 community agencies, and engagement from over 800 members of Toronto’s diverse Black communities.
The chart below captures the Year Three actions from the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. The CABR Unit continues to work with the City’s Agencies, Boards, Commissions and Divisions to track, evaluate, and report out on the status of actions. The Year One and Year Two Work Plan summaries are also available for review.
|Continuing to Create Culture
Change at the City Year Three will prioritize increasing the number of staff trained, expanding the use of anti-Black racism analysis by City staff, and recruitment and talent strategy for Black staff, which is particularly important as the City focuses on building a workforce that reflects our city’s diversity.
|#11.1||Engage diverse Black experts and community members to continue to inform recruitment and talent strategies with the aim to advance professional development, promotion, and
leadership opportunities for employees of African descent at the City of Toronto.
|#11.2 and 16.5||Continue to deliver a comprehensive, mandatory
learning program for City staff from frontline to leadership levels, leveraging the expertise of Black subject matter experts and embedding capacity within organizations.
|#20||Make city spaces more accessible and welcoming to Black Torontonians through reviews of City consultation processes and public space and street naming review.||Planning underway|
|#6.3, 6.4, 10.5 and 11.3||Promote the institutionalization and support for disaggregated race-based data collection through the creation of strategies, public awareness initiatives, and corporate strategies.||In-progress|
|Community Capacity Building
Year Three will prioritize building on recognition, justice and development for Black Torontonians through the City’s declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent, which recognizes that people of African descent represent a distinct group.
|#21.3 and 21.4||Enhance supports to the Black arts and culture sector through increase investments in Black festivals. This includes promoting and preserving Black cultural heritage while conducting targeted outreach to Black communities.||In-progress|
|#2||Meeting the specific needs of Black queer and trans youth through intentionally designed outreach initiatives and housing supports.||Not-started|
|#7.1||Improve youth recreation spaces in new community centres and renovation projects in neighbourhoods with high proportions of Black youth.||Planning underway|
|#5||Enhance the quality and effectiveness of health and community services for Black Torontonians through the creation of new Black organizations focused on funding frameworks.||In-progress|
|Community Safety, Wellbeing and Alternatives to Policing
Year Three will focus on supporting the development of alternatives to police response for mental health crisis calls, wellness checks and low-level disputes between community members.
|#11.1||Engage diverse Black experts and community members to inform a recruitment and talent strategy for employees of African descent at the City of Toronto.||In-progress|
|#18.2 and 16.0||Implement measures to stop racial profiling and over-policing of Black Torontonians through the development and implementation of new alternative models. This will advance models of policing that focus on community engagement, including the implementation of community-led safety initiatives and increased investments in Black communities.||In-progress|
ResilienceYear Three work will prioritize building Black community resilience through the Black Resilience Cluster and
increased institutional investments in the “Black COVID-19
|#8.0||Work collaboratively with Black communities to improve food access for Black Torontonians with low income through food sovereignty initiatives.||Planning underway|
|#10.0||Improve shelter and housing conditions for Black residents through the creation of corporate anti-Black racism plans and collaboration with community partners to address gentrification and Black displacement.||In-progress|
|#4.0 and 22.2||Improve the quality and availability of City programmed community mental health services for Black Torontonians through a community partnership and Black mental health awareness.||In-progress|
|#15.0||Support Black-owned businesses to better recover
from COVID-19, compete and thrive in Toronto as part of the City programs in including Digital Main Street and Social Procurement Programs.
|#13.2||Enhance the quality of targeted employment and skills development programs in community hubs and Black focused organizations and Black focused employment agencies.||Planning underway|
The City of Toronto commits more than $1.2 million in cultural and economic investments to confront anti-Black racism. The City is making multiple investments in Toronto’s Black arts and culture community and business sector to address the systemic economic, social and cultural exclusion facing Black communities in Toronto.
This year, the City will make the following investments in arts, heritage and creative industries to confront anti-Black racism:
The City will make the following economic development investments to confront anti-Black racism:
The City is also committed to establishing a Community Accountability Circle, with key leaders from the Black business and cultural communities to co-develop goals and programs to confront anti-Black racism.
As part of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the City engages with Black Torontonians (African descent or origin, African Black Caribbean, African-Canadian, Canadians of African descent) as part of the Partnership & Accountability Circle (PAC) to guide and support the full implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.
The Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee, established by City Council at its meeting of September 2020 (EX16.1), will help to further advance the objectives of the Toronto Action Plan to Confronting Anti-Black Racism. You can follow the issues and priorities the Advisory Committee will address on the Toronto City Council and Committees Meetings, Agendas and Minutes web page.
Below are brief biographies for the members of the committee.
Read about Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson on his Councillor page
Justice Betty is the co-founder of Révolutionnaire—a digital education and action platform for change-makers. She worked as a management consultant with a focus on inclusive economic growth, diversity and inclusion strategy, and the social sector. Justice is also the co-founder of a social entrepreneurship program that has taught more than 200 high school students across four continents. Prior to this work Justice graduated from the Dual Bachelors of Arts Program at Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris. With a longstanding commitment to civic engagement, Justice is a champion for underrepresented voices in the political sphere and is particularly passionate about issues related to the racial wealth gap, access to education, and youth empowerment.
Theophilus Adjei has been working as a mental health clinician for more than five years and has supported hundreds of individuals to achieve their mental health and wellness goals. Prior to his work as a mental health clinician, Theophilus worked as a child and youth worker for at-risk and homeless youth and a program facilitator for children, youth and adults with disabilities. Growing up in a low-income area in Toronto, he believes it is his mission to address the issues and barriers that prevent Black Torontonians from accessing services and experiencing positive outcomes. Theophilus completed his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto and has been steadfast in his community work, helping to create youth programs. He is also a co-founder of Black Urbanism Toronto, which provides Black Torontonians with resources to cultivate personal, social, economic and cultural advancement to sustain their communities.
Monicke Hanson is a Vice Principal for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in the heart of the St. James Town Community. As an educator and leader at the TDSB, Monicke has developed school improvement plans to support Black families and students and address anti-Black racism in the education system. As a former youth worker, she has also worked in a variety of communities. Experiences growing up as a Black woman in Toronto, and as a former Toronto Community Housing resident, have allowed Monicke to build foresight into some of the inequities faced by Toronto’s racialized communities. Monicke does not see these experiences from a deficit lens, but instead, uses them to strengthen, motivate and inform change in her line of work and future endeavours. Through her experience in the public school system, Monicke identified that there were not many teachers or educators who looked like her and has dedicated her life to making a difference for her community. Monicke completed a Master of Education degree in Social Justice Education and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology Public Health.
Apefa Adjivon is a young leader in youth programming and advocacy. She has supported numerous organizations in the creation of mentorship programs for Black youth, supporting more than 300 young people in the Greater Toronto Area. As a speaker and advocate, she has addressed more than 25,000 people worldwide, discussing youth empowerment, gender equity, and social justice. Apefa has been recognized as one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 for her impact in advocacy. Working with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre she contributed to the development of their NetWORKING mentorship program for Black women in the Greater Toronto Area. She also serves as a member of the Youth Advisory Group to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, where she supports initiatives for the International Decade for Peoples of African Descent. Apefa is excited to draw from both her lived experience as a Black woman and her youth advocacy expertise to inform the work of the Advisory Committee.
Adam Lake is a member of the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity and is part of the Impact COVID team. He is also engaged in work supporting police reform initiatives and has helped to found organizations that tackle issues like education within correctional facilities. Adam completed his Master’s degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. A Toronto-born community activist and advocate, he is passionate about using his voice to address intersecting discrimination that disproportionately impacts racial and sexual minorities within legal and political systems. Adam’s professional goal is to combat social injustice, decrease recidivism rates and eliminate the lack of community knowledge surrounding legal services and rights for the Black community.
Maya Yaya is in her final year of study, majoring in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto and currently works at CEE, the Centre for Young Black Professionals. In addition to her considerable experience with needs assessment and program evaluation-based research, she is an experienced project manager, skilled in leading capacity building and other community development initiatives for Black youth. Throughout her studies at the University of Toronto, Maya has championed a variety of anti-Black racism initiatives on campus, through her work with the Black Students Association, and the University of Toronto Anti-Racism Task Force. Maya is dedicated to increasing access and opportunities for Black Torontonians as a member of the Advisory Committee and hopes to bring her intersectional experience as an African-Canadian, Francophone, woman and youth.
Halimo Hashi is a Somali-Canadian critical social worker practicing with diverse and racialized communities in Scarborough. Halimo is also the Executive Director of Shifting Ways, an agency that provides critical workshops, research and resources on topics including intersectionality, race, gun violence, trauma, migration process, vicarious trauma, and challenges/ opportunities for racialized families and newcomers to Canada. Halimo works across many fields, including forensics, mental health, settlement and academia. In her positions as a hospital and community worker, as well as a university lecturer at York University, Halimo champions a critical and intersectional lens that honours the lived experience of her clients and students. Halimo is a firm believer in bottom-up solutions that place the power of change in the hands of the people while recognizing the need for support and resources from those with influence and know-how. She looks forward to bringing this approach and her expertise to the Advisory Committee.
Deborah Barnes is a Social Worker and Sociologist whose work focuses on anti-racism and anti-Black racism policies and practices. Deborah is currently writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. She brings more than 30 years of experience as a social worker working in the areas of addiction, mental health, child protection, homelessness and criminal justice. Deborah has previously worked as the Director of Diversity at the Children’s Aid Society, as well as the Diversity Consultant for the Addictions Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Her research interest falls in the area of deconstructing workplace diversity. Throughout her career, she has served on various local boards and advisory committees that focused on advancing issues that impact the African Canadian community in Toronto.
Charis Newton-Thompson is a retired educator who has worked in elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions at the Ontario Ministry of Education and in the Caribbean. She holds a Ph.D. and brings insights gained during her 40 years of volunteering in Black community organizations in Toronto. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on the mentorship experiences of Black female public secondary school principals and vice-principals in Southern Ontario. Charis previously worked as the Manager of Curriculum Review for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), as a secondary school principal, and currently sits on the Urban Alliance on Race Relations Steering Committee for the Black Youth Fellowship. As a member of this historic Advisory Committee, Charis intends to shed light on the disproportionately low resources allocated to Black communities in the education system, despite the significant contributions they make to Toronto.
Dr. Daniel is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. Dr. Daniel also holds a Master’s in Counselling, a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology, and a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Her research, publications and community work focuses on the education sector and the factors that promote academic, personal and career success among Black community members. For more than 25 years, her academic work has investigated race and racialization as it relates to urban education. She has been a strong proponent for addressing anti-Black racism, and its impact on Black communities.
Moliann Weir is currently an Associate with the Ontario Growth Secretariat at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, wearing many hats, as a mother, student and a professional. She has more than fifteen years of experience in the public sector in various capacities, including housing, education and the criminal justice system. Moliann has been working in the Black community for more than 20 years and has extensive training in trauma-informed healing and mental health training, from an anti-Black racism lens, and has always applied this lens when engaging with Black communities. Moliann is interested in developing a governance structure to advance Black representation in diverse spaces and hopes to provide sustainable solutions to reduce the over-representation of Black children and youth in the child welfare and youth justice system.
Dr. Phillips is Manager of Community Health and Chronic Disease at South Riverdale CHC. As a mixed-race Black woman who has worked in the arenas of women’s health, community and public, and Indigenous health, she has a deep understanding of the impacts of anti-racism, health inequity and broader social determinants of health on Black communities. Ann is a Geneticist with a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and understands race, not only as a biological construct, but primarily as a social, political and ethnocultural one. Ann has served on the board of the Ontario Coalition of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women, was Chair of the Board of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre, and has worked in the Jane-Finch Community for the Women Moving Forward program. She is passionate about the issues of environmental racism and environmental racialization, discrimination in health care and health services, as well as issues of food insecurity as they relate to urban agriculture and Black food sovereignty.
Justine Namara is the Associate Director, Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Skills for Change. An internationally trained lawyer, Justine brings more than 10 years of experience in championing people-centred development solutions from the grassroots through to global policy change. A strong champion and advocate for inclusive, sustainable growth for all, Justine brings in-depth expertise and strategic insights to working with diverse stakeholder networks to drive impact. Through her lived experience, Justine aims to actively contribute to policies, efforts and discussions to combat anti-Black Racism and would support the work of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee, by providing fresh ideas and innovative approaches to tackling anti-Black racism challenges. She is looking forward to seizing opportunities where this work can be amplified.
Juanita Kwarteng is a Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at Publicis Groupe Canada and believes the stories we tell matter. Juanita is a data-driven digital professional that uses storytelling to execute inclusive brand programming while equipping leaders with the tools they need to build diverse, inclusive teams within a culture of belonging. Juanita has a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Human Rights, and certificates in Corporate Communications and Leadership and Inclusion. She brings extensive experience in creating and implementing business-driven diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and is proficient in key concepts and approaches, such as allyship, building a culture of belonging and inclusive leadership.
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There are many resources available to learn more about anti-Black racism and systemic racism in the areas of education, unemployment and housing, child and family health and welfare, and policing and justice. Learn more about what Canadian, Ontario and international resources are available.
In November 2016, the City and its community partner, OCASI-Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants launched a public education campaign to raise awareness about anti-Black racism in Toronto and to equip people with the means to identify it, question it and challenge it.
This was the second phase of the City’s Toronto For All initiative which is intended to challenge people’s perspectives and beliefs and encourage them to self-identify their implicit biases and negative attitudes in order to support a Toronto that says “no” to all forms of discrimination and racism, and which supports Toronto’s motto: Diversity Our Strength.
Visit the Toronto For All Anti-Black Racism page to see all the phases of our campaign.
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