(Please note: This page is a work in progress)
Phase I: An Intentional Focus on Anti-Black Racism (ABR)
Since 2017, YouthLink has been on an intentional path to disrupt racism and champion an equity-based approach in our organization and for the community that we serve. Our focus over these last years has been specifically on combatting anti-Black racism; we know that the Black community is one of the most impacted communities from every type of racism. We also know that being a Scarborough-based organization means that combatting anti-Black racism must be a fight that is the core of our mission. We have improved some critical priorities during these last years, but we have much more work to do to achieve equitable outcomes for young Black people. We are deeply committed to this work, and are developing specific, measurable indicators to track our progress and focusing on policies, programs and partnerships, here at YouthLink and within the larger sector. Another core part of our commitment is to ensure that our staff and board of directors not only reflect the community that we serve, but also have strong competencies in equity and ABR work.
YouthLink’s African Ancestral Solidarity Statement
We observe a moment of silence to honour those Afrikans who have led lives of service; those who have stood up for racial, social, and economic justice, have sacrificed to advance the well being of African Canadians and all justiceloving peoples, have confronted and dismantled oppressive forces, practices and institutions and have built affirming and equitable examples to inspire us all.
Ancestors, you acted with courage and conviction. You fearlessly challenged White Supremacy and the attendant anti-Black racism, racial terrorism and genocidal violence against our people. You organized against economic exploitation, gender discrimination, religious bigotry, and other oppressive forces. You built communities and institutions. You changed the political, economic, cultural, and social landscape of this nation. Your valuable contributions to nation building do not go un-noticed. You shined a light on the beauty, strength, and genius of our people. You led by example.
We are grateful for your love, tenacity, leadership, and inspiring legacy. We are encouraged and emboldened by your character and service to community. We stand on your sturdy, courageous shoulders. We are charged up with the conviction of continuing this monumental work, this struggle for justice, this self-reliance and self determination. We thank you. We honour you. Ase. Ase. Ase!
The land on which YouthLink is situated has been the home of Indigenous people and Nations for tens of thousands of years and is specifically the land of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinabek, Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Haudenosaunee.
The territory of Tkaronto, or what is known today as Toronto is covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum belt covenant, a centuries-old agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinabek nations for the peaceable sharing and stewardship of the land between the great lakes. The territories that encompass Toronto, as well, fall under a number of colonial Treaties including Treaty 13, and in Scarborough specifically the Williams Treaties. There have been many Indigenous names and words associated with this place, and today, Scarborough is home to a multitude of Indigenous people, languages, and cultures from across Turtle Island and around the world.
Land acknowledgment is a tradition of respect that goes back centuries for many Indigenous people, and today is an act of reconciliation that requires us to consider our relationship to the land and peoples where we live, work and learn.
We are all treaty people. Many of us have come here as settlers, immigrants, or newcomers in this generation or generations past. We also acknowledge the many people of African descent who are not settlers, but whose ancestors were forcibly displaced as part of the transatlantic slave trade against their will, and made to work on these lands.