By Carolina Salinas
The Black Community makes up a total population of 1,198,540, according to Statistics Canada (2016). The community plays a pivotal role in the different economic, social and cultural aspects of Canada. Particularly, in the GTA, the Black community makes up roughly 600, 000 of the population, making it the biggest region home to this community.
VIBE105 spotlights the contributions of FIVE Black owned local organizations dedicated to providing a wide variety of support to the Black community.
Are you interested in the Arts or cultural performances? The Black Artists Network Dialogue (BAND) is a non-profit organization dedicated to support and connect Black culture to communities, in order to inspire and educate through the Arts.
Through its BAND Gallery and Cultural Centre, located at 19 Brock Ave. in Toronto this organization has given support to emerging artists, as well as cultural curators and administrators. Providing an accessible venue so that artists can showcase their work to the public, BAND encourages the dialogue among Black artists, workers and society in general.
For further information visit their website, or check them out on Facebook or Twitter.
The Jamaica Canadian Association (JCA) is a non-profit charitable organization that looks at the well-being and equity of Jamaican, Caribbean and African-Canadian communities in the GTA. This association offers programs and services, and provides access to a physical location so that the community can further develop its potential.
Among the programs that JCA provides to the Black Community is ‘The Scholarship Program’ that consists of Financial Assistance awarded to worthy students from the Caribbean-African community, who are studying post-secondary courses in University or College in Ontario.
If you are a newcomer to Canada this organization also provides The Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP) that supports adults, youth and children who are landed immigrants or those in refugee status.
For further information visit their website or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
The Vaughan African Canadian Association (VACA) is another non-profit organization serving the Vaughan area. VACA was created in 2003, and since then has provided programs and services for the African-Caribbean-Canadian community in the city of Vaughan. VACA’s main priority is offering programs for families and the youth.
Among the programs provided by this association, they put a strong emphasis on the support of learning and education for all children and youth with cultural programs, such as after-school programs, tutorial assistance or media literacy. Furthermore, VACA has programs dedicated to educating people in terms of financial literacy, business education and employability.
Likewise, VACA disposes of health programs with the purpose of creating awareness and prevention among the members of its Black community to avoid diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and more.
Do you know of any senior citizens who enjoy being active? Why not tell them about The Caribbean Canadian Seniors Club (CCSC)? The CCSC was formed in 1986 so that seniors within the community could meet on regular basis. This is an active group dedicated to lobbying governments and agencies on issues related to senior citizens.
Among the objectives of this group are to encourage physical activity in order to live a healthier life, advocate for themselves on social topics, alleviate loneliness and isolation, as well as organize social and recreational activities and interact regularly with other groups. Educational seminars and computer facilities are other main pillars of this club. Trips to some destinations such as Quebec City are also among some of the extra curricular activities the club organizes.
The CCSC meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Jamaican Canadian Center (JCA) from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm located at 995 Arrow Rd in North York.
The Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN) is a social service agency that was discovered in 2014, aimed at servicing Toronto’s Caribbean community. CAFCAN has also worked closely alongside the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA).
CAFCAN provides cultural and social services, enriching the African and Caribbean community, as well as the well-being of this community in the GTA.
Among their services offered are Employment services, Violence against Women programs, safety planning and lifestyle management.
There are a variety of Black Organizations dedicated to boosting, not only the Black culture, improving awareness of other rich cultures such as the Caribbean, American and African, among others with its respective heritage. These organizations serve the purpose of advocating the rights of vulnerable groups that currently represent a considerable percentage of the GTA, not only culturally but also socially and economically.