York professor launches new Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference, Feb. 4 & 5

York public policy and equity studies Professor Lorne Foster, together with the Institute for Social Research (ISR), are the primary organizers of the new Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference. The conference will take place Feb. 4 and 5 in the second floor conference facility in the Second Student Centre at the Keele Campus.

Lorne Foster

With support from the Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference marks the launch of a landmark national research and survey project on Canada’s Black communities.

Many Black Canadians experience isolation, anti-Black racism, school disengagement, youth incarceration, racial profiling and gun violence, greater levels of unemployment and underemployment, and poor health outcomes. To address these issues and barriers, and to advance racial equity in society, any examination of Canada’s Black population as a national ethnoracial identity must stem from first-hand perspectives that include its diverse voices.

The Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference provides an opportunity for participants to engage with a broad range of people and community voices with a collective interest in promoting policy solutions that aim to strengthen communities and improve the lives of Black Canadians.

The event strives to stimulate dialogue and to share promising strategies. It seeks to canvass actionable techniques and approaches to alleviate anti-Black racism and improve future outcomes in a range of settings, including education, racialized child welfare, the racialized labour market and criminal justice.

Policy networks are able to promote a partnering culture to advance work on complex issues in dynamic environments. Bringing together key stakeholder and sectors  in constructive networks is conducive to corroborating good information, creating coherent visions and strategies for addressing shared concerns of a community, and collectively tackle the multiple and interrelated aspects of complex issues and social problems.

Zanana Akande
Zanana Akande

All York University community members are invited to attend the conference keynote which will take place Feb. 4, from 4 to 6 p.m., in the Second Student Centre at the Keele Campus. The keynote address, which will be delivered in the second floor conference room, will be given by Zanana Akande, a former teacher and school principal, and the first Black woman elected to the Ontario Legislature and to serve as a cabinet minister in Canada.

The Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference conference is a necessary first step in establishing a culture of knowledge transfer that drives sustainable equity policy and capacity building in Black Canada through a forward-looking and integrated approach.

This milestone event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Commissioner’s Office (HRCO), the York Region District School Board (YRDSB), the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) and the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO).

The complete information package regarding the upcoming Blackness in Canada Policy Networking Conference can be found at: http://www.yrdsb.ca/hrco/Pages/Conferences-and-Symposiums.aspx.