Black History Month draws to a close, but the lessons we learn, the stories we share, the lives we celebrate, and the support we give are not limited to one month. We want to highlight a few organizations supporting Black communities across Canada. The work of these organizations is essential in fostering a sense of belonging, addressing systemic racism, and reducing barriers to participation in Canada. Of course, these organizations wouldn’t be as effective without the help of volunteers and generous contributions. If you’re looking for an organization to support, consider one of these!
The Africa Centre is an incorporated charity based in Edmonton, Alberta. With a mission to increase access to opportunity and participation for Black Albertans, the Africa Centre provides culturally grounded programs and services. They provide numerous programs and services ranging from mental health counseling, professional skills development, childcare to senior engagement. Furthermore, as part of their COVID-19 response plan, the Africa Centre started a food bank that provides culturally relevant food hampers to communities. Although primarily established to serve people of African descent, the food bank is open to all Albertans. Learn how you can support here.
Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA):
The BBPA, established in 1983 and based in Toronto, Ontario, is a non-profit, charitable organization. The BBPA delivers programs that support professional excellence, higher education, and economic development. They offer many programs such as financial literacy courses, entrepreneurship training and mentoring, and business advisory services, to name a few. Additionally, they provide several scholarships and awards to Black youth and entrepreneurs. Find out how to get involved here.
Black Community Resource Centre (BCRC):
Located in Montreal, the Black Community Resource Centre is a resource-based organization dedicated to improving community capacity by providing professional support to organizations and individuals. The BCRC aims to achieve its mission by empowering communities, strengthening careers, and encouraging education. They have started various initiatives that range from matching English-speaking Black Quebecers with employers to finding grants, awards, and scholarships for Black students. Learn how you can support here.
Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC):
The Black Legal Action Centre is a non-profit legal clinic that provides legal services to Ontario’s low- or no-income Black residents. BLAC is dedicated to combatting individual and systemic anti-Black racism by educating, advocating, and litigating. They can help in various legal areas such as education and housing law. Additionally, BLAC provides legal information in areas such as criminal and family law. They also offer toolkits and legal brochures to educate individuals on their rights. Here’s how you can help.
Black Youth Helpline (BYH):
Black Youth Helpline started in Manitoba, in 1992, as a community-based school project. BYH was established in Ontario in 2003. Its mission is to prevent mental breakdowns in communities by focusing on education, health, and community development. BYH aims to serve all youth but focuses on the needs of Black youth for professional, culturally appropriate preventative services. They provide youth and family assessments and interventions, parent and family support, and promote stay-in-school initiatives. Here’s how you can get involved.
Harriet Tubman Community Organization (H.T.C.O):
Founded in 1972, the Harriet Tubman Community Organization works to foster a sense of belonging and connection to heritage in African Canadian youth. H.T.C.O uses a multi-service approach that provides innovative educational and culturally relevant youth development programs. The organization’s mission is to build meaningful and developmental relationships between youth aged 8-25 years. Their programs focus on developing positive identity in the youth of African descent. They offer a range of services, from summer camps to reintegration counseling. Find out how you can help.
Hogan’s Alley Society (HAS):
Hogan’s Alley was the unofficial name of an area settled by Vancouver’s Black population. This population was displaced by the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. HAS is a non-profit organization formed from two community-led initiatives: the Hogan’s Alley Memorial Project and the Hogan’s Alley Land Trust. HAS preserves and promotes the historical, cultural, societal, and economic contribution of Black settlers and their descendants in Vancouver through community development. Furthermore, HAS strives to position racialized and marginalized voices in the city-building process. Here’s how you can help.
This list is by no means exhaustive; however, these are well-established and trusted community organizations. And they all offer many ways for you to get involved or help.
Check back for more articles on community resources in Canada.