Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute is collaborating with the Environics Institute and the Atkinson Charitable Institute on a ground-breaking study on the Black community in the Greater Toronto Area.
The study will explore the lived experiences of Blacks and provide valuable insight and direction in identifying policies and other initiatives that will contribute to the community’s success. The first phase of the project is community engagement and that runs up until the end of the year.
By RON FANFAIR
Through focused discussions and interviews with small groups and individuals, it’s expected that these sessions will establish a solid foundation for the research by identifying the issues and questions of greatest relevance by leveraging the knowledge, skills and experiences within the community, engaging emerging youth leaders, bringing together leaders, local organizations and the community at large and providing opportunities for participants to contribute to subsequent phases of the project.
“In this phase, people will sit down and have facilitated conversations,” said project director, Marva Wisdom. “We want to talk to some of the key players and those that are seen either externally or internally as leaders in our community and various sectors and also with those that have blazed a trail.”
As part of the project, a trailblazer’s roundtable conversation will be held on September 28 at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, 55 Dundas St. W., 7th Floor. The event starts at 5.30 p.m.
“After this event, we will begin the engagement with the broader community and that’s expected to run up until January,” Wisdom said.
Phase Two – the research design and execution stage – is expected to run from January to October 2013.
The information captured in the community engagement process will guide the design of the research in this phase that will consist of an in-depth survey of the Black community across the GTA incorporating a representative sample of 1,000 to 3,000 individuals.
Wisdom said the study sample will be comprehensive to capture the broad diversity of the GTA’s Black population. The research will draw on local community resources and individuals will be encouraged to tell their stories.
The final phase – post-study dissemination and engagement – is anticipated to begin in November 2013 and end in April 2014.
Several community organizations are actively involved in the planning and execution of the study. They include the Jamaican Canadian Association, Redemption & Reintegration Services, Black Artists Network Dialogue, Tropicana Community Services Organization, Midaynta Immigrant Settlement & Somali Immigrant Services and Peel Social Planning Council.
Dr. Gervan Fearon, the Dean of Ryerson University’s Raymond Chang School of Continuing Learning, said the study is long overdue.
“It’s taking a look at a community that might often not get the kind of research and evidence-based analysis that that community and others can use in terms of policy and community development,” he said. “The intent is to be quite comprehensive and it will provide an opportunity to get a pulse as to some of the issues affecting the Black community.”