March 2021 Newsletter

Click to read our March 2021 Newsletter.

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Wondering what we're up to? Check out what we have going on this month!

Neethan Shan, Executive Director
"As we approach the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we reflect on the very difficult past few months of the pandemic's disproportionate impact on our racialized communities. During the past year, UARR has stepped up and responded to support our communities. We continue to provide culturally appropriate and supportive virtual spaces, with eight weekly sessions for our youth to get the much needed support in coping with the unprecedented changes brought by the Pandemic. We have been working hard with concrete outreach strategies to make the already available services become more accessible and inclusive to various racialized communities. This includes our work in Durham Region and our collaboration with 211. Additionally, we are helping to build the digital programming capacity of 30 grassroots organizations in Scarborough, to continue serving the communities that are in most need.
These are just a few of the many efforts underway at UARR. Please continue reading for details of various important projects and activities we have ongoing and coming up."

We hope to see you all on March 21st at 3pm at our event titled, Making Good Trouble, to mark International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


Establishing a Voice for Black Youth in Politics


Last month was the launch of the Black Youth Fellowship Program! Inspired by the number of fellowships before it, this is the first year that this program has been put into action, with the intention to change how black youth in Toronto have access to being an active part of policy making, political representation, and more. Led by a team of passionate political black leaders, the first cohort of fellows have been decided and they are an incredible group of community leaders already! This program seeks to place these highly motivated, passionate and hard-working young people on a fast track to success. BYF is a professional and leadership development program focusing on building the next generation of Black political leaders. Eventually BYF hopes to allow other youth to see people who look like them in these positions, and inspire them to do the same!



Re-evaluating Racial Equity in the School System


The Coalition for Racial Equity in Education restarted its volunteer engagement for 2021. We have begun hosting regular shared spaces for our student and parent volunteers to make connections, share experiences, brainstorm for potential action, and keep each other informed. We continue to schedule and host training sessions on topics requested by our volunteers. We are also beginning to connect our volunteers to external opportunities. Our team continues to build on our list of education-related policy meetings, consultations, or learning opportunities, and disseminate these findings to our communities.

CREE's next public education initiative is the Regional Accountability Information Sessions, where we aim to clarify the nuances in organizing faced by volunteers in different regions. We will review reporting mechanisms in the boards of each region, identify positions of authority, their portfolios, and walkthrough relevant board commitments/director’s statements regarding anti-racism and equity.

Finally, CREE is currently looking to recruit additional student & parent volunteers! If you have an interest in racial justice, community organizing, or education policy, please e-mail us at [email protected]


Bridging the Service Gap for South Asian Communities in Durham Region


In February we launched a project that aims to connect the Tamil and Pakistani communities of Durham region with local social service providers. We are connecting with organizations based out of Durham region, specifically North Pickering and North Ajax to navigate the services offered as part of the COVID-19 recovery support. This initiative will have long-term impacts in the region by creating a network of agencies, partners, and community members that will work together to improve access to services by South Asian communities.

As part of this project, we will have various information sessions in multiple languages that are relevant to the Pakistani and Tamil communities. We will also hold training sessions with frontline organizations to reduce the gap between South Asians and frontline workers and services. On February 24th, we had our first community information session joined by over 30 attendees, in collaboration with the Durham Community Legal Clinic to learn about legal aid.

Register for our upcoming sessions in March:

Pakistani Community Information Sessions

Tamil Community Information Sessions

March 10th 4:00pm-6:00pm: Youth and Education Services

March 24th: 4:00pm-6:00pm: Health and Wellness Services

Click here if you would like to volunteer on this project as a Community Education Ambassador.


Join us in Connecting the Dots: Highlight Your Service for the South Asian Community


In order to better connect South Asian communities with COVID recovery programs and services, we are reaching out to organizations that received ECSF funding through red cross and would like to use this opportunity to shed light on the services that are often under-acknowledged or difficult to access for the South Asian demographic (specifically Tamil, Punjabi, Hindi and Bengali speakers).We will develop creative content and modules from the information provided and consolidate them on an online platform for reference which will be accessible to the general public, targeted to the South Asian community. Please see our flyer if you would like to be involved or to recommend an organization.


Facing Barriers in the Process of Settlement? How Can We Help?


In partnership with 211, UARR is in the process of conducting theme-based sessions for marginalized South Asians within the Tamil, Punjabi, Bengali and Urdu communities that have had the least access to resources in order to fulfill their needs. The sessions will focus on their specific needs in relation to Settlement and Legal Services as well as Health and Wellness services. A representative from 211 will also discuss how to access the 211 service, inclusion criteria, service navigation and how to effectively use the 211 resource database.

We will be collecting analytical data through questionnaires and interviews about the experience with 211 services. Later we will push these experiences into thematic based workshops to further understand the newcomer experience and any barriers faced. We will also have focused conversations with 60 newcomer services and advocates to find out what the existing barriers are and what some potential solutions are.

Upcoming Community sessions:

March 10th 3:00-5:00pm: Settlement and Legal Services for South Asians

March 24th 3:00-5:00pm: Health and Wellness Services for South Asians



Change is in the Air … So it’s Time to Adapt!


This project aims to increase the online programming and outreach capacity of 30 essential frontline service-oriented organizations in various ethno-racial communities in Scarborough. It will look to address the needs of these respective communities during the COVID recovery and rebuilding process and see how they have been affected in reaching out to their clients and generating the online footprint they desire. The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is currently reaching out to grassroots organizations in Scarborough to see where they need digital upgrading and the consensus of many of the organizations has been to focus on social media, meeting tools and website upgrading. UARR has decided to hold three different training sessions in which these categories will be focused on and organizations will be matched to technical experts that will allow them to reach their goals.

The training session on Meeting tools and Canva held last week was a huge success!

Upcoming training session on Website Upgrading: March 25th 2021 3:00pm-5:00pm


The End of a Journey is Only the Beginning of Another


As our COVID-recovery youth program comes to an end, we will be holding our last community forum focusing on the York, Peel and Toronto region with updates regarding the education system, local municipality and developments in local healthcare. For Black History Month, the Black, Muslim, Tamil and Filipino youth programming focused on anti-oppressive workshops, Black futures and Advocacy 101. For our last month, we will be concluding our sessions with the following areas: Financial Literacy Program (Budgeting/Investing/Saving), STEM Challenge, and Job Readiness.


Your support during these difficult times has been incredibly impactful. Thank you for staying connected with us.

We are counting on your contributions to keep our programs running. Help us continue to promote racial equity within our communities.


In Solidarity, 

Urban Alliance on Race Relations


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Address: 2425 Eglinton Ave E, Suite 214, Scarborough, ON M1K 5G8

Special Thanks to Our Funding Partners

Ontario Trillium Foundation
Status of Women Canada