When unions and community groups form alliances to achieve common goals it can be a powerful force for change, whether to organize the unemployed, achieve welfare reform, provide universal healthcare or demand fair immigration policy.
Unions have used such alliances to successfully organize difficult sectors like janitors and farm workers. In that spirit, the Coalition of Racialized Workers was happy to sponsor the Anti Black Racism Youth Leadership Project event on April 29.
The event was organized by the OLORI Collaborative and the Black Youth Leadership Alliance in the Jane and Finch area of Toronto.
OPSEU’s Coalition of Racialized Workers (CoRW) Region 5 Chair Kola Iluyomade feels honoured to be an integral part of the journey of these youth who present an image of Black youth not as “at-risk” (other than at risk to racism) but as strong and talented leaders.
“They are rapidly becoming the face of Black youth leadership in Toronto and it is my pride and joy to support them every step of the way,” said Iluyomade.
The event was so successful that two of the youth, Paul Dunn and Nathan Baya, found themselves at Toronto City Hall last month fighting for the sustainability of such programs.
Dunn testified that “this group is important as it fosters a sense of community and civic responsibility. Since attending these meetings, I have developed my critical thinking of issues pertaining to my community and the broader black diaspora.”
The OLORI Collaborative has a clear vision of what is needed to train and organize members and then build a collaborative of allies who share their journey of empowerment. This vision includes engaging the community and elected officials to achieve better outcomes for themselves, their peers and their communities – a vision that rings true to those in the labour movement.
Peter Thompson, Chair of the Provincial Coalition of Racialized Workers is “proud to support racialized members with this initiative and others like it” and recognizes such partnerships as “a way to really make diversity the strength of the labour movement.”