The ACB Network is a collaborative community development and capacity-building initiative created by Black leaders in Waterloo Region. All of the individuals currently engaged are local stakeholders who build on the longstanding community engagement efforts of the many cultural associations in the Region that represent different communities in the African diaspora. By focusing on advocacy and systems-level work, we avoid duplication of ongoing community-building efforts to engage with persistent issues that create barriers and inequities in our communities.
Observed Need in the Community
- Long history of strong community organizing, program development, partnership and collaboration among ACB community groups and leaders over the years
- There are number of ACB lead grass roots organizations that have a specific focus that helps to support the diverse ACB community
- However, with no overarching umbrella/network that connects all of our ACB groups and leaders, it can lead to isolation, lack of support and duplication
- The development of an ACB Network can lead to leveraging limited resources, information sharing, collective action and amplifying the voice of the ACB community
- Waterloo Region has a history of developing and supporting community collaborative/hubs based on a number of identifying characteristics and interests
- Development of an ACB Hub would be another step in ensuring a strong, collective voice on matters that directly impact the diverse ACB community
A future where African, Caribbean and Black people can engage fully in the civic, social, and economic opportunities available inWaterloo Region without systemic barriers related to anti-Black racism as it pertains to our health and overall wellbeing.
The ACB Network of Waterloo Region will connect Black communities in Waterloo Region, and build the infrastructure to support Black mobilizing to address structural inequity.
Through active-engagement, advocacy, and community collaboration we will:
- Focus on key issues that highlight the structural impact of anti-Black racism
- Provide opportunities for members of our African, Caribbean & Black communities to work collaboratively to reduce and remove structural barriers to equity.
- Act as a resource for individuals, groups, and the larger community to become aware of the breadth of Black-led initiatives taking place within the region.
- Act as a catalyst for Black leadership development and social justice organizing
- Identifying and addressing structural barriers to Black achievement and wellbeing.
- Raise awareness of the disparities experienced by ACB communities that limit their access to sustainable livelihoods.
- Network and collaborate to bring together culturally diverse Black peoples and communities in addressing shared goals and outcomes.
- Connecting individuals and resources necessary to achieve and maintain equity.
- Building on the work and labour of Black and racialized communities in the region.
- Acknowledging that there is a uniqueness and specificity to the expressions and experiences of anti-Black racism in Canada.
- Applying a critical social justice, decolonial, and collectivist approach to our work.
- Acknowledging that being Black is a politicized identity deeply entrenched in a long history of community mobilizing.
- Acknowledging the cultural, gender, and sexual diversity within our communities.