Stronger Together — Solidarity Statement

We, the undersigned, are a collaborative partnership of network leaders in social innovation, social finance, the social economy, and community economic development across Canada. We provide this joint statement to deepen our commitment to rooting out racism, colonization, and exclusion in our work and sector.

Acknowledgement

We, the undersigned, collectively acknowledge that colonialism has deep roots in Canada and its legacy persists in society’s intolerable treatment of people of African descent. While issues of systemic racism are present for many people living in Canada, we acknowledge the recent and disproportionately fatal incidents within Indigenous and Black communities. We also acknowledge generations of African Nova Scotians who have resisted oppression in isolation in the Maritimes.

Joint Statement

As a collective, we recognize the only sensible position to take in the face of racism is anti-racism. In our work towards sustainable and inclusive communities we denounce anti-Black racism in every malicious form it takes; in our communities, our organizations, and in Canada’s systems and institutions.

State of the Field

Understanding that the wealth and health of communities are inextricably linked, we call for community leadership and determination of resource allocation, assets, decision-making, and policy development. It is clear to us that across Canada, we have deep divides between the rich, poor, and everyday families. What is also clear to us is that African Canadian and Indigenous communities have a rich and textured array of organizations, social enterprises and businesses that require equitable access to meaningful opportunities.

Three Key Audiences

To the African Canadian — we recognize you are not represented in many professional disciplines and sectors, despite your strength and ingenuity in social innovation. Your absence here is a mistake that we aim to address. When you create incredible ways to provide community care, when you develop your own systems to support amazing initiatives, when you organize thousands of people to march and demand change, and when you build flourishing businesses, you are demonstrating tremendous socially innovative work, too often without the support you deserve.

Key Actions

As we do this work, we have identified some actions we can undertake within the related worlds of social innovation, social finance, the social economy, and community economic development. Specifically, as the Investment Readiness Program, Social Finance Fund, and eventual fulsome Social Innovation/Social Finance Strategy unfold, we will work on the following:

  1. Development of performance indicators as well as tools for measuring this work that we believe should become standard for all IRP/SFF and future program partners, regardless of their areas of focus
  2. Development of anti-racism and anti-oppression training that we recommend become standard for all IRP/SFF and future program partners. To begin this, we’ll source a list of strong antiracist educators from BIPOC communities to facilitate this work
  3. Diversity & Inclusion policy promotion and development amongst Investment Readiness Program partners and wider ecosystem stakeholders within their respective organizations
  4. Development and implementation of an intermediary specifically for the African Canadian community in the Social Finance Fund. This should be complemented by a standard commitment and enforceable performance measures for all intermediaries to engage with diverse communities
  5. Collaboration towards the development of a self-determined fund to engage traditionally under-represented people living in Canada in the social finance and social enterprise ecosystem through small catalyst grants and non-repayable loans.

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