Group 1 - Homeless Youth, Downtown Toronto - Summer 2013
Group 2 - Racialized Youth, Mississauga and Brampton - Summer 2013
Group 3 - Somali Immigrant Youth – Rexdale, Spring 2014
In the Fall of 2013, two researchers from the Voices against Violence project collaborated with a group of twelve young people experiencing homelessness, in order to explore moments of structural violence in their lives. The group was held at a partner agency, Eva's Satellite, and met twice a week for five weeks. The youth used sketchbooks, drawing, poetry, and group discussions to talk about their lives and the challenges they faced. After identifying key issues - like poverty, stigmatization, and frustration over a lack of resources - the youth developed and built a free mobile app for homeless and street-involved youth in Canada, called Supporting and Assisting Youth. Working as collaborative researchers gave these young people a voice, and the tools to empower themselves and other young people.
Poster for the mobile app created by the group
Igniting the Literary Landscape for Canadian Writers of Colour
The groups were made up of mixed-gendered youth who identified as racialized and lived in two areas within the Greater Toronto Area: Mississauga and Brampton.. The age of participants ranged from 19-27 years of age. The focus of the groups was to utilize storytelling, personal memoire and poetry to explore the impact of racism on health and well-being. Mixed media was utilized as prompts to encourage the writing process, such as short stories, poetry, and videos and short documentaries that dealt with contemporary issues of racism. Participants had the opportunity to reflect through writing and were encouraged to utilize various forms of writing. Once writing took place participants had the opportunity to share their writing and/or discuss the prompts. Through writing and discussions, groups focused on different aspects of race and racism, and intersectionalities of oppression, often speaking at length about personal experiences or about historical experiences of racism and different ways in which they felt impacted. The Brampton group has decided that there is so much value in the group that they will continue meeting and the Bramalea Community Health Centre is committed to providing a space for this group.
This project examined the subtle and explicit way in which racism, poverty, and culturally-based social exclusion are woven into the everyday lives of Somali Youth (ages 16 to 24 years) living in the neighbourhood called Kingsviews‐Westway Village in Toronto; how they intersected to impact the life and health of youth; and the strategies that youth used to resist/overcome these experiences. Our community partners for this group were the Somali Women and Children Support Network as well as the Toronto District School Board.