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The Anti-Racism Action Project (ARAP) Presents Their Plans to Regent Park's Social Development Plan Committee
By Dimitrije Martinovic
Dimitrije is a community journalist with FOCUS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE
Partnering with the Regent Park Social Development Plan and the Regent Park Community Health Centre, The Anti-Racism Action Project aims to address anti-racism through trauma informed community building and engagement approaches. On Sept 27, 2023, ARAP held an online meeting. The presentation was hosted by Amal Mohamed and Varda Tariq.
The three main objectives of ARAP are:
1. To enhance civic engagement and social participation of residents through an anti-racist and trauma informed community building and engagement lens. Expected Result – to create a higher sense of belonging, connectedness and civic pride for minority residents in the community.
2. To improve knowledge and awareness about anti-racism and racialized trauma as well as informed healing for collective liberation. Expected Result – Foster an improved relationship between Toronto Housing residents and private residents.
3. To establish safe, communal gathering spaces (online/in-person) to promote a sense of belonging, racial healing and cultural diversity to bring community members together. Expected Result – Create more accessible common spaces for Regent Park residents that are free of discrimination and racism.
In her presentation Varda Tariq also outlined the key Project Values, which are: Learning, Growth and Healing. Furthermore, Varda also highlighted some of the milestone events in the ARAP journey such as the Healing With Tea event and others held at Daniels Spectrum Centre. This October 21, 2023, they will be presenting a meeting on the theme of Colonialism and Decolonization. Other meetings have dealt with community wealth building as an anti-racism strategy facilitated by Chiyi Tam, Inner-Truth presented by Taiko Dojo with Brenda Joy, and anti-Muslim racism and anti-blackness, facilitates by Mary Carmen and Lara Villanueve.
The presentation rounded up with a series of recommendations for the Social Development Plan which included the need for a continuance of community healing circles, an emphasis on future projects, the need to react in a timely fashion on building relationships, continued educational efforts, maintenance of foundational principals, and shaping the SDP (Social Development Plan) culture through the revival of ARAP social media platforms.
FOCUS Media Arts Centre (FOCUS) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative media stereotypes of low income communities and provide relevant information to residents living in the Regent Park area and surrounding communities.
We seek to empower marginalized individuals and under represented communities to have a voice, through the use of professional training, mentorships and participatory based media practices that enable the sharing of stories, experiences and perspectives on relevant matters and issues. In brief our mandate is to empower marginalized individuals and under-serviced communities to have a voice and tell their own stories.