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February 15, 2023

CCRW Celebrates Black History Month

CCRW Celebrates Black History Month
In commemoration of Black History Month, CCRW is proud to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black communities across the country. We recognize, value, and support the Black community year-round, but during the month of February we believe it’s important to shine an extra bright light on the Black community, their accomplishments, and their legacy.

As a corporation that aims to serve persons with disabilities, it is especially pertinent when honouring Black History Month to recognize and celebrate Black persons living with disabilities, a very unrepresented but valuable community. Supporting persons with disabilities is a part of CCRW’s mission and values, so in writing this blog we aim to honour, celebrate, recognize, and support Black persons living with disabilities and the entirety of the Black community.

Spotlighting Local Organizations that Serve the Black Community
For the month of February, we asked our individual offices to nominate local organizations that support the Black community. We have been spotlighting these organizations on our social media weekly to raise awareness of the supports that are out there and to celebrate the organizations that are putting in the work to support the Black community. So far CCRW has spotlighted the following organizations:

African Canadian Association of Ottawa
The African Canadian Association of Ottawa’s mission is to unite people of African descent and promote the welfare of their community while encouraging greater participation in civic matters. They focus on Mental Initiatives, Community Development, and Integration. Their supports have helped the community immensely and made positive impacts.

Association for New Canadians
The Association for New Canadians (ANC) is a non-profit, community-based organization delivering settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador. For more than 40 years, the Association has delivered programs and services that support all aspects of immigrant integration, ranging from settlement information and orientation to language learning, skills development, and employment.
The Black Voices Collective is a committee formed by ANC dedicated to improving the lives of Black Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Caribbean African Canadian Social Services
CAFCAN is a registered charitable organization whose primary focus is on building and strengthening the service framework for African Canadian children, youth and families through culturally safe individual and group counselling supports, case management services, employment services, youth mentorship, and youth outreach programs. CAFCAN Social Services Inc., an incorporated not-for-profit, full-fledged Social Services Agency is dedicated to supporting individuals, families, and youth to reach their full potential.

As the month goes on, we will continue to spotlight more organizations that we believe are doing incredible work for the Black community.

Assistive Technology Aids Black Candidate at CCRW
Last year for International Day of Persons with Disabilities, focused on innovation for disability inclusive development in employment; Brianne Dallas, one of our employment facilitators in Scarborough Ontario, shared the difference assistive technology made to her Black candidate that helped them secure employment. You can read a section from the story below. Find the full story on our website here:

An innovative approach was used with this candidate that involved obtaining an accommodation for an assistive device, specifically the OrCam MyEye. This is a small device that attaches to a pair of glasses that can instantly read text off a variety of surfaces, as well as recognize faces to help increase independence. The participant described the accommodation as life-changing, quoting “It’s like getting my sight back again”. This device has had a significant impact on this individual as they are now able to achieve a greater sense of independence and feel confident in navigating everyday life. Being a part of this accommodation process and experience has left an impression not only on myself, but on this participant as they have attributed much of their success to the employment services, they received through CCRW.

In honour of Black History Month, we reached out to Gavin O’Sullivan to check in on how he’s been doing since our program and he had this to share this with us:

    “My name is Gavin O’Sullivan, a black individual identifying with a disability – Vision impaired. I was a participant at CCRW for six months. After completing the program, I was interviewed and offered a position for an On-Call Music Teacher. However, because of the distance from home and transit issues, I was not able to take up the position. Nevertheless, I utilized my time by completing my first book entitled Blind Hope – My Life Story, that is now published and is presently available on Amazon. I also focused on compiling my music album – C4 – Kinggav. Additionally, I’ve recently been speaking with CCRW’s Employment Services for support on doing a Junior IT Analysis Program which should commence in April 2023. I am looking forward to participating in this program of my interest because I believe I can assist people who need help in maneuvering the computer. Thanks again to CCRW for the knowledge that I have gained from their services.”

Statistics of Coloured Persons with Disabilities in Canada
On December 3rd 2020, Statistics Canada published stats related to Canada’s visible minority population living with a disability. These statistics are not up to date, but in celebrating Black History Month we believe they are important to take note of. Among Canadians aged 15 years and older with a disability, 14.3% are a member of a group designated as a visible minority. The breakdown Statistics Canada provided as of 2020 is as follows; 4% of Canadians with a disability are South Asian, 2.9% Chinese, 2.2% are Black, 1.3% Filipino, an 1% Latin American.

Statistics Canada also stated 13.9% of visible minorities with a disability in Canada are men, while 14.5% are women. Another important stat that was noted, was that among visible minorities with a disability aged 25 to 64 years, 49.9% have work potential, 33.9% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, 25.2% of those employed consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment because of their condition, and 32.4% of employees said their work does not give them the opportunity to use all their education, skills, or work experience.

These statistics are staggering and show there’s work to be done. CCRW is committed to providing all visible minorities the same quality of education, resources, support, and tools that we provide white persons with disabilities. In doing so, we are committed to an all-encompassing intersectional level of support, not just for visible minorities, but BIPOC and LGBTQ+ persons as well, because we aim to give all Canadians regardless of their identity the tools, they need to live a fulfilling and comfortable life.

Why Intersectionality is Important at Work
In much of the world context, the dominant group with the most power is white, cis-gender, straight, able-bodied, male. Each personal identity of an individual that is removed from this dominant group faces barriers to access. These barriers do not present independently. They are an interconnected web of complexities.

Intersectionality can be explained using the simple interest vs compound interest analogy. Each individual identity of an equity deserving group that lends itself to barriers, multiplies the effects of the barriers. Over a period, the detriment due to the impact of intersecting identities on an individual is exponential.

Intersectionality is an analytical framework that provides a lens through which we can examine the processes, practices, policies, and structures that compound the risk of people experiencing disadvantage or discrimination because of their intersecting identities. An intersectional approach to workplace equity creates allyship and structural change where all are given opportunities to contribute and create a safe and successful environment. Intersectionality eliminates the competitive mentality where advancements for one minority group hurt another.

What We Can Do

    • Recognize and appreciate that there are multiple layers that intersect to form systemic discrimination that prevents people from obtaining equal opportunity
    • Respect the voice of those most affected by issues and valuing their goals for their communities
    • Be inclusive and incorporate different perspectives when talking about issues to ensure those affected by the results are involved in the process.
    • Ensure that the collection of data and information does not overlook the experiences of individuals with intersectional identities
    • Be open to thinking creatively about social justice issues, assessing how issues connect with different topics that may seem unrelated and consider how this may affect and have consequences in the workplace and other areas.
    • Strive to collaborate with other organizations and provide resources for people from different equity deserving groups to help support and promote change
    • Consider how discrimination and systemic inequality contribute to differing health outcomes, opportunities for support, and access to healthy food, clean water, fresh air, healthcare, etc. And how to ensure your workplace supports its employees' health and wellbeing

CCRW’s Employment Services
In celebrating Black History Month At CCRW, we want to extend our thanks and support to the organizations who are doing incredible work for the Black community in Canada, and to our partner organizations who serve the Back community and have trusted us to support the employment goals of their clients with disabilities.

CCRW is committed to providing a high-level of service and support to all visible minorities, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and all other intersecting identities. We strive to support and promote inclusivity in the work that we do.

If you or someone you know, is a person with a disability seeking employment support - please contact us to find out how we can help.

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