The Black Experience in the Greater Toronto Area
The Environics Institute, in partnership with Ryerson's Diversity Institute, the United Way of Greater Toronto, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto, is now undertaking a groundbreaking research study focusing on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The purpose of this study is to conduct seminal research to better understand the lived experiences of individuals within this community, and the factors leading to their success and challenges. The results are intended to provide valuable insight and direction in identifying policies and other initiatives that will contribute to the health and vibrancy of the Black community, and by doing so, the health and vibrancy of the entire GTA community and beyond.
The project is also being supported by a number of other leading organizations as Collaborating Partners, including the African Canadian Development Council, the Black Artists Network Dialogue, the Jamaica Canadian Association, the Region of Peel, Redemption and Reintegration Services, the City of Toronto, Tropicana Community Services and Black Artists Network Dialogue (BAND).
The project is founded on evidence demonstrating that survey research can serve as a powerful vehicle to give voice to individuals and groups who are not normally heard from. Such research offers a unique opportunity to articulate positive narratives and hopeful scenarios for the future that might not otherwise be properly heard. These stories will encourage personal initiative, stronger policies, and investment of public, private, and philanthropic resources.
Project results are expected to provide a focal point for the Black community to better harness its assets and expand its successes broadly throughout the entire community. It will help the community build on strategies to move forward, and it will also help the broader community (e.g., community leaders, decision-makers, public) understand and appreciate the vibrancy of the Black community within their vicinity.
The project includes three phases:
• Phase 1: Community engagement: to proactively engage the Black community to ensure the research focuses on issues of greatest relevance, and contributes to capacity building. This phase has been completed and final report is now available for download here.
• Phase 2: Research design and execution to conduct an in-depth survey with a representative sample of individuals within the GTA Black community; and
• Phase 3: Post-study dissemination and public engagement: to broadly publicize the research findings and actively engage policy-makers and the Black community around implications and next steps.
The Phase 2 survey has now been launched, and interviews will be conducted across the GTA over the next several months. Stay tuned for updates.
Media Coverage of the Black Experience Project
BEP Outreach Team
Suelyn Knight - BEP Project Manager Phase 2
Suelyn Knight joins as the Project Manager Phase 2 Research. Suelyn’s primary responsibility will be to organize and coordinate the survey administration, including recruitment and supervision of the community youth we will be hiring to conduct the in-person interviews. Suelyn comes with extensive experience in project management and community development experience, most recently as a Community Outreach Coordinator at United Way Peel Region. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dena Henry - BEP Project Coordinator
Dena Henry is a graduate of York University where she completed a BA Specialized Honours in Political Science, with a strong focus on gender, race and sexuality. As a passionate service driven Community Worker she is committed to social justice and anti-oppression issues. Dena believes our life work should not merely be about promoting self but rather the serving of others. For the past 10 years she has been assisting youths, vulnerable women and the homeless population in the Greater Toronto Area and Jamaica W.I. She can be reached at email@example.com
Krysta Celestine - BEP Project Administrator
As Interview Scheduler for The Black Experience Project, Krysta is primarily responsible for coordinating in-person interviews between survey participants and community interviewers. With a background in communications and equity studies, Krysta has held a variety of communications and project coordination roles in the non profit sector. She also holds a certificate in Public Relations from Ryerson University. Krysta can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Desmond Miller - BEP Quality Control
Desmond Miller brings to the Black Experience Project an array of research and project coordination experience from diverse roles in university and not-for-profit settings. His work is centred on exploring, and identifying strategies to address, disparities in health and life outcomes experienced by marginalized and racialized communities in Canada.
As a researcher, Desmond has coordinated projects ranging from the feasibility of implementing a youth violence intervention program in Toronto emergency departments to the potential impact of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games on sport participation. His master’s thesis documented the lived experiences of Black males from the Greater Toronto Area who attained, and studied on, US athletic scholarships before later returning to Canada. Desmond has served as the Program Director for Drum Artz Canada and, for several years, was the Festival Manager of the Canadian Sport Film Festival, an organization with which he still volunteers. He can be reached at email@example.com
Rose-Ann Marie Bailey – Regional Team Lead - Toronto
Rose-Ann Marie Bailey is a graduate of York University where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) and Education degrees. She is currently pursuing a Master of Education at York University, with a focus on community-based arts research.
Ms. Bailey’s current research explores the inextricably links between racism, urban education and the social determinants of health, and how this impacts a culturally relevant and responsive health education mandate for Black, African, Caribbean and Canadian youth. Ms. Bailey brings over fifteen years of professional and voluntary experience working collaboratively with a variety of community-based AIDS Service Organizations and community health centres in Ontario.
Her frontline work experience as a health promoter and youth program coordinator with marginalized communities has equipped her with a deep understanding and analysis of socio- cultural factors that inform the health practices of racialized and marginalized populations.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danavan Samuels – Regional Team Lead – York Region
With more than two decades of social service and Community Development experience. Danavan has contributed to, and participated, in numerous research initiatives. Danavan has worked tirelessly to improve access and opportunities for African Canadian and racialized groups across the GTA.
As a policy Analyst Danavan works to improve policies, programs and strategies that impact marginalized groups. Danavan is an experienced facilitator and organizer and has been successful in mobilizing members of the black community to advocate for equity and social change.
Danavan believes in the values and importance of evidence informed advocacy and sees the Black Experience Project as a vital part of ensuring the Black community has an informed voice at the decision making table. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Nadine Rubie – Regional Team Lead – Peel/Halton
Nadine is a dynamic, insightful social work professional with over 10 years’ experience in youth development, health promotion and non-profit leadership. She has a strong educational foundation with Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto. Nadine has worked in marginalized communities across the Greater Toronto Area and in Kingston Jamaica. Most recently, Nadine has lived, worked and played in the Peel Region as a Health Promoter for the Bramalea Community Health Centre.
She has worked with a number of populations including youth, families, newcomers and the homeless and those living with mental illness. Nadine has a passion for anti-oppression and social justice. Nadine is very excited and enthusiastic to work on the Black Experience Project and eager to put this important research into action. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Our Lead Sponsors:
Our Regional Partners
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To learn more about the Black Experience Project, contact Suelyn Knignt