Dan’s Legacy’s Response to Racial Injustice
The recent protests that have taken place around the world in the fight against racial injustice have provided the Dan’s Legacy team (Staff and Board of Directors) with the opportunity to reflect upon and reaffirm our beliefs regarding diversity, equity and inclusivity.
We support movements which acknowledge the deeply rooted problem of systemic oppression of Indigenous People, Black People and People of Colour (IBPOC) and other marginalized groups.
Our team of therapists work with some of the most vulnerable members of our community, all of whom are battling mental health and addictions issues due to childhood trauma and abuse. We know that systemic racism and marginalization contributed to, and is still a significantly negative factor, in our clients’ mental health challenges.
In the past 14 years, we have grown from a small, family foundation to an organization that provides trauma-informed and culturally sensitive counselling and life-skills programming to youth at risk in Metro Vancouver. Our clients are primarily youth who have aged out of government care who face multiple barriers accessing traditional mental health services. The youth are diverse and represent many of the groups of people who experience racism and marginalization: 40% are Indigenous, 30% identify as LGBTQ2S+, and 9% are Black or People of Colour.
The Dan’s Legacy team stands with all who have experienced trauma, all who are marginalized, and all who are stigmatized. As a group of people who have privilege, we want to use our voice to speak out against the effects of colonization, systemic racism and marginalization of anyone who is diverse or doesn’t fit the ‘norm’. Dan’s Legacy has and will continue to work in partnership with a variety of community organizations that support youth in a way that honours and respects their diversity. We will strive to build upon our specialized programs, and create more programs, for LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous youth, as well as Black youth and Youth of Colour.
In times like these, it is important to look inwards and see where we can do better. Dan’s Legacy is committed to exploring and implementing the following actions:
- Engage in additional learning to ensure our Staff and Board of Directors are educated about the effects of colonization and aware of discrimination and racism facing IBPOC youth and people around the world, and the actions we can take collectively;
- Ensure diversity within our Staff, Volunteers and Board of Directors so that different voices are represented in our work and decision making;
- Actively engage in developing a program for Black Youth and Youth of Colour to help them gain insight into their trauma, heal, connect to community, and be empowered to take positive control of their lives;
- Ensure that IBPOC voices have representation in our dialogue by designing events and programming in a way that actively seeks, encourages and incorporates these voices;
- Identify and invite feedback on other ways the Dan’s Legacy team can engage in allyship to better support those we serve.
Racism, marginalization and acts of hatred divide communities, adding to the trauma of our vulnerable clients and increasing the likelihood they will experience lifelong mental health issues, justice involvement, homelessness, overdose and suicide. The difficult conversations that are taking place are the start of a much-needed systemic overhaul to ensure all people have equitable access, treatment and respect.
Real change needs to take place in the world. We are all equal.
We at Dan’s Legacy stand in support with those we serve.
We are with you.