Addressing Anti-Black Racism
Anti-Black racism refers to the the multiple and intersecting experiences of systemic, structural, state, and community violence deployed against Black peoples historically and contemporarily. Anti-Black racism was/is foundational to the operation of our society and impacts the lives of Black people locally and globally in the most insidious ways. Anti-Black racism isn’t something only white people participate in. Anti-Black racism is systemic and cultural, which means other racialized and Indigenous communities participate in and benefit from anti-Black racism. Therefore, Black people are also capable of participating in and upholding anti-Black racism even as it technically impacts their daily lives.
Addressing anti-Black racism requires more than palatable and pragmatic approaches. The Black Radical Tradition, with its roots in Black feminist thought/praxis, is a diverse, extensive, and ongoing history of Black radical refusal in the face of white supremacist anti-Black violence. The Black Radical Tradition, Black feminist thought/praxis, and abolition offer us a different way forward beyond being accepted by the state, and rather direct us to a world beyond our conditions.
Decolonization is the practice and process of unsettling and dismantling colonialism and its continuities by making these known and challenging them in order to create new possibilities for humanity. This work includes a more critical understanding of Black and Indigneous child welfare survivors experiences. It also includes a different orientation to engaging child welfare survivors in both community and as participants. One that centers the capacity and resistance of Black, Indingenous, poor, disabled, queer, and racialized child welfare survivors, and goes beyond a reformist agenda.
Applying youth centring practices in action involves including youth and their perspectives at every step of project planning and delivery. We should be listening when youth express themselves, and we need to actively create spaces in which they feel comfortable to do so. This means incorporating trauma-informed practices for all meetings and gatherings as well check-ins for these spaces. We add “critical” to youth-centring because often organizations, workers, and researchers tokenistically engage young people causing child welfare survivors to not be taught, resourced, and challenged to grow in appropriate ways. We believe youth have a right to voice their thoughts, experiences, and opinions and we also believe that not everything a young person says should be left without challenge and learning.
CCWS works to create an environment that actively address discrimination in all its forms. This includes racism (anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism), xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-fatness, ableism, sanism and antiBlack sanism, sexism, misogyny and misogynoir, ageism, classism and elitism.
Knowledge Mobilization and Community Development
CCWS focuses on creating a critical community around and with child welfare survivors, their families and loved ones in a process that is healing, supportive and critical. Grounded in the Black Radical Tradition, anti-Black racism, and decolonialism as pillars in our work also means understanding and articulating sites of healing and resistance in community.
This work can also be liberatory. Knowledge mobilization is fundamental to this goal, where CCWS is understood as a vehicle and site for learning critical information. We believe that no organization, group or collective should be hoarding knowledge and resources.
Accountability and Responsibility
At CCWS we take serious concerns about ethics with regard to both our services, partnerships and governance as a grassroots organization. This means working with trusted community partners who have demonstrated an interest in the liberatory agenda for Black, Indigenous, and racialized people.
CCWS is committed to being transparent about our work and relationships, including to the state, and developing open processes to voice grievances and concerns that will be taken up through principles grounded in transformative justice.
One of the primary tenets of harm reduction is to centre lived experiences when attempting to come up with solutions to address a systemic issue. Through this philosophy and practice, harm reduction uses methods and resources that reduce the harm of a systemic issue.
In our service delivery, such as one-on-one advocacy, CCWS works to reduce the harm child welfare survivors, families, and community members experience in child protection investigations and service provision.