ADDRESSING ANTI-BLACK RACISM
As an organization, we use the power of sport to empower youth and drive systemic change. On June 3, 2020, we made a commitment to use our voice on important social issues like racism and injustice. To invest in change and continue to support Black youth, organizations, coaches, and leaders in our work. To be vocal and use the power of sport to make a difference.
Today we reflect on the last year, share our approach, and re-affirm our commitment to building a more inclusive world where all youth can recognize and reach their full potential.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
June 2020: A commitment to change.
June 2020 & ongoing: staff training on anti-oppression and anti-racism, implicit bias and privilege, anti-Black racism, and how to engage in fearless dialogues that promote change.
June 2020: Black staff form an affinity group to create space for sharing of experiences, finding collective support within our organization, and collaborating to drive change.
July 2020: staff-organized group developed to engage in sustained learning around systems of oppression, Canada’s legacy of colonialism and white supremacy, the contemporary implications of systemic racism, and ways to engage in allyship in the struggle for justice.
July 2020 & ongoing: Prioritize mental health and wellbeing amongst our communities through our partnership with Lumenus which makes counselling support available to youth and staff. Integrate activities that encourage solution-finding, rest, resiliency, coping and recovery into MLSE LaunchPad programs.
November 2020: Conduct a full review of our granting structure and processes with guidance from our community partners; resulted in identifying and addressing barriers within our practices which disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and other organizations of colour.
December 2020: A board-staff subcommittee dedicated to dismantling anti-Black racism was formed and developed several guiding documents for our organizations, including a review of our organizational practices and the development of a tool to support how we use our voice to advocate for systemic change.
February 2021: Launch of Change the Game, a fundraising and awareness campaign dedicated to investing $30 million dollars over four years to address systemic barriers preventing youth from reaching their potential.
March 2021: Invested one million dollars in the Foundation for Black Communities to prioritize and increase resources within Black communities and focus on addressing the holistic wellness of the community through the power of sport.
March 2021: Review of board governance structure resulting in updates to board recruitment, transition policies, and a successful search to diversify our board membership.
April 2021: Launched in partnership with the University of Toronto the Change the Game research project to better understand sport and play-related access, engagement and equity issues across Ontario as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on exploring racial disparities and experiences of discrimination in sport.
May 2021: Prepare to stand in solidarity with the communities we serve by refining organizational response processes to use our voice reactively when needed.
June 2021: Launch Sport, Diversity, and Race webinar series in partnership with CBC Sports and Ted Rogers School of Management, with the first event attended by >1700 viewers.
June 2021 (upcoming): Host Research to Practice Symposium featuring Black scholars and thought leaders, themed around the disparities highlighted in 2020/2021 and how we can build the youth sport sector back in a way that furthers equity, diversity, and inclusion.
A full-team ongoing commitment to amplify Black voices, celebrate Black staff, highlight Black -led and Black serving partners, and deliver quality programming for Black youth. We remain boldly committed to this journey.