New Initiative launched to build more Black Community Leaders
Toronto, 3 June 2021
Black communities across Canada face racial inequities and continue to deal with longstanding systemic barriers, in particular, Anti-Black Racism and related inequities in employment, resources and wealth. A just-launched initiative is exclusively dedicated towards the upliftment of the Black community to rise above these socioeconomic inequities through capacity building and empowerment of Black community leaders who will take on the mantle of advancing racial equity and inclusive growth in their communities.
The effects of systemic racism, such as employment inequity, inequitable distribution of power, wealth, and resources has often resulted in high rates of poverty, with a lack of access to basic needs such as health care, housing, food as well as resources. These limitations have been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic – and directly addressing the root cause grounded in Anti-Black Racism can have an outsized impact on intergenerational Black community’s livelihoods.
Funded by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation with additional support from Accenture, the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change (BLISC) will provide a leadership development program creating pathways to more inclusive leadership and representation of Black leaders in the Canadian society. Focusing on skills development, capacity building, leadership competencies, actions against injustice and navigating diversity and equity systems (and drawing from Skills for Change’s over three decades of experience in all these areas), the result is an initiative with a holistic approach to uplift Black communities across Canada.
“We are honoured to be partnering with Skills for Change on the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change. Social justice is one of the key areas of focus for the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. We funded this initiative because it was relevant and addressed a timely community need and interest,” Claire Barcik, Executive Director, The Catherine Donnelly Foundation said. “The program’s leadership model fits our goals in terms of collective action and support for leadership change, and the fact that it is both Black-led and Black serving.”
“This program is one of a kind, not many organizations have developed programming focused exclusively on Black folks. This program is about trying to humanize every existence of who we are as Black people on a daily basis,” Dr Wesley Crichlow, Critical Race intersectional Scholar Director for Youth Transitioning from Care to University noted. Kim Borden Penney, President, Penney Consulting Services Inc., elaborated how Anti-Black Racism affects and impacts career mobility and advancement of professional development in the Black community and how the program will make a difference by addressing systemic racism through leadership and advocacy on social action.
The BLISC program will equip 50 members of the Black community with requisite skills needed to lead in this new and progressive environment of social action and change. “We are extremely pleased to launch the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change program as part of our Black Community Access and Programming department,” Surranna Sandy, CEO, Skills for Change noted. “On behalf of Skills for Change and its Board of Directors, we are extremely pleased to receive funding from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation geared towards developing Black leaders and additional support from Accenture to continue to build the capacity of this initiative.”
“We constantly have to rethink or challenge the status quo and see how we can do things differently, providing space to include people who were not historically included. With the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change, this is a great opportunity to allow the Black community to tap into that potential,” Sophia Lormeus, Business & Technology Integration, SAP Talent & HR, Accenture added.
“I am really excited to be part of the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change,” Dean Delpeache, Director, Consulting, Strasity & Director of Talent and Diversity, Fiix Software, stated. “Racism especially towards Black communities has been at an ultimate rise, with the deaths of George Floyd and many others. People are awakening to the fact that we need to step up against this type of racism but also create leaders who can make changes within various institutions such as education, in the community and also in workplaces”.
The initiative was announced at Skills for Change’s Spotlight Series on May 25, 2021 in a panel discussion which reflected on the progress made since the global outcry on Anti-Black Racism after the murder of George Floyd. The initiative’s online development training is scheduled to start on July 26, 2021 with modules on developing skills, connections, leadership competencies, community development and social justice in order to make social change. This programming will be essential to equip Black community leaders with resources to advance racial equity and inclusive growth in their communities. Registrations for enrollment can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For over 38 years, Skills for Change has supported the integration and well-being of immigrants and refugees in Canada. For more information, please visit www.skillsforchange.org, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
And for more information about the Black Leadership Institute on Social Action for Change, please contact Kimberly Clarke, Supervisor, Programs and Services (Black Community Access and Programming) at email@example.com.