During the past year, staff at The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Community Mental Health at SickKids (GH-CCMH) have strengthened our awareness of the impact of racism in the lives of our clients and to understand how unfairness and exclusion can also play out in our relationships with each other. Black History Month is an opportunity to recap some of the important work that has been happening and to set the stage for what is coming next.
Our Anti-Black Racism, Anti-Oppression and Health Equity Action Plan has three pillars:
- To deepen organizational awareness of the impact of racism on individual lives and on specific communities;
- To build cultural humility and awareness of the meaning and impact of racialized experience in our service delivery; and
- To foster equity and inclusion within our workforce.
Under each of these, specific and concrete action has taken place:
- An Anti-Black Racism, Anti-Oppression and Health Equity (ABRAOHE) Advisory Committee is now part of our governance structure;
- The ABRAOHE Advisory has completed a review of our capacity to gather equity-based data about our clients and has developed a plan for implementing a more effective and inclusive means of data collection;
- 66 staff and nine leaders completed the YouthRex training Centering Black Youth Wellbeing: A Certificate on Combatting Anti-Black Racism;
- Centre staff are participating in the lead agency Stride’s project Honouring Our Promise: Ending Anti-Black Racism (HOPE project);
- Centre staff developed a partnership with Native Child and Family Services Toronto (NCFST) setting the stage for important improvements to our capacity to support Indigenous youth and families; and
- Leadership and several clinical teams completed an Indigenous Awareness training provided by colleagues at NCFST.
There is a transformation taking place at our agency in terms of attention to issues of equity and diversity in our work. Leadership is engaged and seeking to learn as well as lead. Importantly, wisdom, knowledge and experience across our staff team is finding a place from which to participate, offer advice and raise challenges.
We look forward to next steps that will include strengthening some of our partnerships with agencies serving equity-seeking communities, seeking ways to incorporate an equity lens in our annual training plan and reviewing key policies and procedures through a diversity and equity lens.
Chris Bartha, Executive Director and Neill Carson, Senior Director, Operations and Clinical
February 1, 2022