Repost: The Conscious Kid Library’s 26 Children’s books to support conversations about race, racism, and resistance

This list was curated by The Conscious Kid Library and American Indians in Children’s Literature, in partnership with Raising Race Conscious Children.

Research from Harvard University suggests that children as young as three years old, when exposed to racism and prejudice, tend to embrace and accept it, even though they might not understand the feelings. By age 5, white children are strongly biased towards whiteness. To counter this bias, experts recommend acknowledging and naming race and racism with children as early and as often as possible. Children’s books are one of the most effective and practical tools for initiating these critical conversations; and they can also be used to model what it means to resist and dismantle oppression.

Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. These books showcase the diverse ways people of all ages and races have engaged in anti-racist activism, and highlight how race intersects with other issues, such as capitalism, class and colonization. The majority of books center activists of color, whose lives and bodies have been on the front lines of racial justice work, yet whose stories often go untold. The essential work of white activists is also included?—?to underscore that anti-racist work is not the responsibility of people of color; and exemplify the ways white allies have stood up against racial injustice. This list was curated by The Conscious Kid Library and American Indians in Children’s Literature, in partnership with Raising Race Conscious Children.

Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters: Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and sparked a boycott that changed America. Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of slaves escape the South on the Underground Railroad. The lives of ten Black women activists are featured in an incredible story about courage in the face of oppression; about the challenges and triumphs of the battle for civil rights; and about speaking out for what you believe in?—?even when it feels like no one is listening. Ages 6–9.

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation: Almost 10 years before Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. Mendez, an American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Latinx community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California. Ages 6–9.

When We Were Alone: When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history and, ultimately, one of resilience, empowerment and strength. Ages 4–8.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist: Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963. This moving picture book proves you’re never too little to make a difference. When nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks heard grown-ups talk about wiping out Birmingham’s segregation laws, she volunteered to get arrested, even though it meant she would have to go to jail. This is the remarkable and inspiring story of one child’s role in the Civil Rights Movement. Ages 5–10.

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up: Fred Korematsu liked listening to music on the radio, playing tennis, and hanging around with his friends?—?just like lots of other Americans. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941. The government forced all people of Japanese descent to leave their homes on the West Coast and move to concentration camps. This included Fred, whose parents had immigrated to the United States from Japan many years before. But Fred refused to go. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he got put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up. Ages 6–10.

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song: The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever. Discover how two outsiders?—?Billie Holiday, a young Black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants?—?combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement. Ages 8–12.

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom: Martha Tom, a young Choctaw girl, knows better than to cross the river, but one day?—?in search of blackberries?—?she disobeys her mother and finds herself on the other side. Thus begins the story about seven slaves who cross the big river to freedom, led by a Choctaw girl. It documents a part of history that is little-known: the relationship between the Choctaws?—?members of a sovereign nation?—?and the slaves who lived in Mississippi during that time before the Civil War, before the Choctaws were forced out of Mississippi to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Author Tim Tingle says: “Crossing Bok Chitto is a tribute to the Indians of every nation who aided the runaway people of bondage. Crossing Bok Chitto is an Indian book and documented the Indian way. We Indians need to know and embrace our past. Non-Indians should know the sweet and secret fire, as secret as the stones, that drives the Indian heart and keeps us so determined that our way, a way of respect for others and the land we live on, will prevail.” Ages 7–13.

Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X: Malcolm X grew to be one of America’s most influential figures. But first, he was a boy named Malcolm Little. Written by his daughter, this inspiring picture book biography celebrates a vision of freedom and justice. Bolstered by the love and wisdom of his large, warm family, young Malcolm Little was a natural born leader. But when confronted with intolerance and a series of tragedies, Malcolm’s optimism and faith were threatened. He had to learn how to be strong and how to hold on to his individuality. He had to learn self-reliance. Ilyasah Shabazz gives us a unique glimpse into the childhood of her father, Malcolm X, with a lyrical story that carries a message that resonates still today?—?that we must all strive to live to our highest potential. Ages 6–10.

Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis: John wants to be a preacher when he grows up?—?a leader whose words stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action. But why wait? When John is put in charge of the family farm’s flock of chickens, he discovers that they make a wonderful congregation! So he preaches to his flock, and they listen, content under his watchful care, riveted by the rhythm of his voice. Celebrating ingenuity and dreaming big, this inspirational story includes an author’s note about John Lewis, who grew up to be a member of the Freedom Riders; chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; demonstrator on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; and Georgia congressman, who is still an activist today. Ages 4–8.

She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland: Joan was a white teenager in the South during Segregation who put herself on the front lines of the Civil Rights struggle. She attended demonstrations and sit-ins and was one of the Freedom Riders in 1961 who was arrested and put on death row for months at the notorious Parchman Penitentiary. She was the first white person to join in the 1963 Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins in Jackson, Mississippi; and that same year, participated in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965 which contributed to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act that year. Ages 8–10.

Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez: Cesar Chavez is known as one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders. When he led a 340-mile peaceful protest march through California, he ignited a cause and improved the lives of thousands of migrant farm workers. But Cesar wasn’t always a leader. As a boy, he was shy and teased at school. His family worked in the fields for barely enough money to survive. Cesar knew things had to change, and he thought that?—?maybe?—?he could help change them. So he took charge. He spoke up. And an entire country listened. Ages 4–7.

Nelson Mandela: Award-winning author-illustrator Kadir Nelson tells the story of global icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela. It is the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa, and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country. Mandela believed in equality for all people, no matter the color of their skin. Readers will be inspired by Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world. Ages 4–8.

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America: His white teacher tells her all-Black class, “You’ll all wind up porters and waiters”. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first Black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was poor and looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice. Ages 4–8.

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story: Born in 1905, Anna May Wong spent her childhood working in her family’s laundry in Los Angeles’s Chinatown. Anna May struggled to pursue an acting career in Hollywood in the 1930s. There were very few roles for Asian Americans, and many were demeaning and stereotypical. Finally, after years of unfulfilling roles, Anna May began crusading for more meaningful opportunities for herself and other Asian American actors and refused to play stereotypical roles. As the first Chinese American movie star, she took a stand against racial discrimination in the film industry and was a pioneer of the cinema. Ages 6–11.

As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom: Their names stand for the quest for justice and equality. Martin grew up in a loving family in the American South, with the country plagued by racial discrimination. He aimed to put a stop to it. He became a minister like his father, and he preached and marched for the cause. Abraham grew up in a loving Jewish family in Germany. In 1938, he was arrested and deported by the Gestapo and his mother and sisters were killed by Nazi’s. He found a new home in America, where he became a respected rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance. This is the story of two icons for social justice, how they formed a remarkable friendship, and turned their personal experiences of oppression into a message of love and equality for all. Ages 6–9.

We March: On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place?—?more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating racial harmony. The thrill of the day is brought to life for even the youngest reader to experience. Ages 2–7.

That’s Not Fair! Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice: A vivid depiction of the early injustices encountered by a young Mexican-American girl in San Antonio in the 1920’s. Emma Tenayuca learns to care deeply about poverty and hunger during a time when many Mexican Americans were starving to death and working unreasonably long hours for 3 cents/hour in the city’s pecan-shelling factories. Through astute perception, caring, and personal action, Emma begins to get involved, and eventually, at the age of 21, leads 12,000 workers in the first significant historical action in the Mexican-American struggle for justice. Emma’s story serves as a model for young and old alike about courage, compassion, and the role everyone can play in making the world more fair. Ages 5–7.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom: Carole Boston Weatherford depicts Harriet Tubman’s initial escape from slavery and her mission to lead others to freedom as divinely inspired, and achieved by steadfast faith and prayer. On the eve of her being sold and torn from her family, Tubman prays in her despair. In response, “God speaks in a whip-poor-will’s song. ‘I set the North Star in the heavens and I mean for you to be free.’ The twinkling star encourages Tubman: “My mind is made up. Tomorrow, I flee.” A foreword introduces the concept of slavery for children and an author’s note includes a brief biography of Tubman. Ages 5–8.

Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills: Born to parents who were both former slaves, Florence Mills knew at an early age that she loved to sing, and that her sweet, bird-like voice, resonated with those who heard her. Performing catapulted her all the way to the stages of 1920s Broadway where she inspired everyone from songwriters to playwrights. Yet with all her success, she knew firsthand how prejudice shaped her world and the world of those around her. As a result, Florence chose to support and promote works by fellow Black performers while heralding a call for their civil rights. Harlem’s Little Blackbird is a timeless story about justice, equality, and the importance of following one’s heart and dreams. Ages 3–7.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement: Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, even being beaten to within an inch of her life, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her death in 1977. Integral to the Freedom Summer of 1964, Ms. Hamer gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that, despite President Johnson’s interference, aired on national TV news and spurred the nation to support the Freedom Democrats. Voice of Freedom celebrates Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy with a message of hope, determination, and strength. Ages 9–12.

Josephine: Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait for young people of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. Josephine used her platform to fight for racial equality and civil rights, and refused to dance in segregated American dance halls. Josephine is a powerful story of struggle and triumph. Ages 10–13.

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History: Frederick Douglass was a self-educated slave in the South who grew up to become an icon. He was a leader of the abolitionist movement, a celebrated writer, an esteemed speaker, and a social reformer, proving that, as he said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Ages 6–10.

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers: Dolores wants to know why her students are too hungry to listen, why they don’t have shoes to wear to school. When she finds out that the farm workers in her community are poorly paid and working under dangerous conditions, she stands up for their rights. This is the story of Dolores Huerta and the extraordinary battle she waged to ensure fair and safe workplaces for Mexican and Mexican American migrant workers. Ages 6–8.

Rosa: Fifty years after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus, Mrs. Rosa Parks is still one of the most important figures in the American civil rights movement. This tribute to Mrs. Parks is a celebration of her courageous action and the events that followed. Ages 4–8.

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride: Born into slavery, Belle had to endure the cruelty of several masters before she escaped to freedom. But she knew she wouldn’t really be free unless she was helping to end injustice. That’s when she changed her name to Sojourner and began traveling across the country, demanding equal rights for Black people and for women. Many people weren’t ready for her message, but Sojourner was brave, and her truth was powerful. Ages 5–9.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down: This picture book is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the momentous Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in, when four college students staged a peaceful protest that became a defining moment in the struggle for racial equality and the growing civil rights movement. Andrea Davis Pinkney uses poetic, powerful prose to tell the story of these four young men, who followed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words of peaceful protest and dared to sit at the “whites only” Woolworth’s lunch counter. Ages 7–10.

The Conscious Kid Library is an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias, promoting positive identity development, and empowering youth to engage in social justice activism. They promote access to diverse children’s books that center and celebrate empowered images and narratives of underrepresented and oppressed groups. www.theconsciouskid.org

American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) provides critical perspectives and analysis of indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, the school curriculum, popular culture, and society. https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/

Raising Race Conscious Children is an education organization that provides direct supports to parents and teachers who are trying to talk about race and diversity with children. They provide resources and trainings to support adults and are committed to preparing young people to work toward racial justice. www.raceconscious.org


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Four questions for … Divonify’s Colleen Sargeant James

I asked Divonify co-founder and principal consultant Colleen Sargeant James:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination and stereotyping on newcomer children?

I run a diversity and inclusion consulting company, and while most of my work involves facilitating workshops with adults to create inclusive environments, I often see how years of exposure to racism, discrimination and stereotyping affects individuals in the workforce and the community.

The effects of discrimination on newcomer children can result in low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth. This is especially prevalent in a community where they are a visible minority. Children will learn from a young age that they are different and that being different is not positive and stops them from achieving their full potential. As a result, they will end up trying to “fit in” and not embrace their true authentic self. I think parents of newcomers also experience this as they will tell their children to try to blend in with the other children. Stereotyping has a major effect on children; not only are they faed with stereotypes in their schools and communities but the media has a profound impat on reinforcing stereotypes especially when we look at race and culture. Racism, discrimination and stereotyping are learned behaviours, and when I speak to participants in my sessions I help them to understand that to think inclusively means unlearning most of what they have been taught.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

Supports and services are available; however the issue is reaching out to communities that may feel marginalized or isolated. We do not do a good job of ensuring that everyone in the community knows what resources are available to them. This is not an issue that is limited to newcomers, but I find this a concern for many people in communities where knowledge transfer is lacking. We need more organizations working with the school system to ensure children know what is available and we also need to ensure that parents of these children are aware. Communication is key when it comes to integration. This is essential for both adults and children.

New immigrants need mentors within the community. I am a supporter of ambassador programs that allow community members the opportunity to interact with newcomers and work with them to ensure a smooth, supportive transition into the community. a mentorship program would be an excellent resource to newcomers and could be facilitated through our school system similar to a buddy program. This would enable children at a young age to help foster an inclusive environment where all feel welcome.

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer  children, what would it be?

To answer this question, one needs to not look solely at the children,  but the family unit as a whole. Citizenship needs to follow up with the families to ensure that they are successfully transitioning into their new communities. Also, demonstrating support by providing ongoing funding for programs and services as most agencies supporting newcomers are dependent on government funding. When governments cut their funding, it has a negative effect on newcomers, especially children who often benefit the most.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

One of the books I highly recommend for adults who have young children is “It’s Okay To Be Different” by Todd Parr. This book talks about differences and lets the reader know that differences are a part of life. It also helps to open up a conversation between parents and their children about diversity and inclusion and being your authentic self.

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Colleen Sargeant James is the co-founder and principal consultant at Divonify, which specializes in providing innovative and diversity and inclusion consultation, coaching and training. Colleen is a dedicated member of her community. She has over fifteen years of experience working in public administration, social-profit, and the private sector. Colleen is a recent graduate of Leadership Waterloo Region. She has studied Leadership and Inclusion at Centennial College and obtained her degree from the University of Toronto.

Follow Colleen on Twitter @colnerissa.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Four questions for … social worker, facilitator and diversity consultant Ilaneet Goren

I asked social worker, facilitator and diversity consultant Ilaneet Goren:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children (birth to age eight)?

I am part of a team of equity educators who facilitate diversity programs for children and youth in school boards across Ontario. While every school and community is unique in terms of their experience with immigration, when it comes to inclusion and well-being, the barriers newcomer children face are similar across the board. Even in communities where resources and supports are readily available, there is no immunity to implicit bias, prejudice, and anti-immigrant sentiments in the current political climate that emboldens hateful nationalist ideologies. Children learn and absorb messages from the adult world around them and, when anti-immigrant attitudes become the norm, it teaches all children that taunting someone for having an accent or for wearing a hijab is ‘okay’.

In my experience as a social worker – and speaking as a two-time immigrant who first emigrated at the age of 10 – newcomer children want to belong, more than anything else. They want to feel a part of their school community. They want to be and feel Canadian. While they are aware of their differences in terms of ethnicity, language, culture, or faith, they are more interested in the commonalities that help them connect to their classmates and identify them as friends. In fact, the speed with which newcomer children adapt to their new environment and culture never ceases to amaze us: it is a testament to their amazing resiliency and potential which we, as educators, must nurture.

Inside the school as outside of it, prejudice, bias and discrimination are most often expressed in implicit and unspoken ways. Negative and belittling attitudes, deficit-based thinking, or a lack of understanding that equity doesn’t mean equality and that some newcomer children may need specific supports in order to integrate into school are commonplace in all environments. Biased thinking occurs when newcomer children are automatically placed in a lower grade, or when students facing language barriers are not afforded the extra time they need to complete an assignment because ‘everyone needs to be treated equally.’

When we talk to students about their school climate the conversation often reveals the lack of safety experienced by students who are on the receiving end of bullying and stereotyping because of their identity. The bystander effect is also revealed: their peers are unwilling to intervene when they witness bullying. These conversations can be challenging for newcomer students who may not have the confidence or the language to talk about their experiences of exclusion, or may not know about – or trust – the supports available to them.

When students don’t feel safe, they can’t learn. A lack of safety affects their stress levels and well-being. While student mental health is now part of the conversation in many schools, there is still much work to be done to address the link between bullying, racism, and student mental health and well-being.

Rather than expecting that students affected by racism and discrimination reach out for support, educators and administrators need to be proactive and engage the students directly, while addressing and interrupting bullying every single time they witness it.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

Newcomer parents need support in navigating the education system and in advocating for their rights and the rights of their children in that system. Currently, this support is spotty and fragmented: some areas have it or some form of it, though many don’t. Even in areas where schools have settlement workers, these workers may be over-stretched, trying to meet growing needs with shrinking resources. When it comes to institutionalized racism, settlement workers are not equipped with the tools, nor are they encouraged or funded, to engage in advocacy for systemic change.

Before talking about services though, it’s important to remember that safety, followed by love and belonging, is among the first three most basic human needs, according to Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. From an equity perspective, emphasizing and actively supporting a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for children where they live, learn and play is fundamental to their healthy development. For newcomer children, safety and belonging are especially important factors that shape their experience with immigration. This is the philosophy that we want to see permeate every facet of our society, not just within settlement services.

I’d like to see more discussion about safeguarding services against operating like a machine devoid of a human heart. Sometimes services are well-intentioned and look good on the books but fall short when it comes to authentic human connection and genuine expressions of care, empathy and compassion. I say this as both a service provider and as a youth who once received these services. Restricting the length of time people can stay connected to their case workers, for example, or requiring certain documents in order to be connected to services, are just two examples of administrative practices that create barriers and reproduce oppression.

To continue to meet the challenges brought about by global migration, Canada needs to re-think its approach to newcomer support in many areas and re-design our system and the ways in which resources are allocated. Services need to be more integrated, holistic, comprehensive and consistent, taking into account the unique needs of each geographical immigrant area. The examples are too many to list here, but an illustration is evident in the ways in which refugee families from Syria have been treated, with different types of sponsorship revealing major gaps in how services are coordinated and funds are allocated.

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Support newcomer families.

Newcomer children do well when their families do well and their basic needs are met. The effects of social and economic inequality on newcomers are imprinted on their children. Too often, newcomer children carry the burden and stress of their parents because of the barriers they face, be it unemployment, financial struggle, inadequate housing, racism, or a combination of all of these factors. When supporting newcomer children we have to include the whole family unit in our analysis and understand the interconnected nature of forms of inequality and the ways in which they influence one another.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

I think children’s books offer a lot of insight and wisdom for adults, as well as children! One that I particularly like as a diversity educator is “Why Are All The Taxi Drivers…?” by Canadian educator Christopher D’Souza, with illustrations by Nadia Petkovic.

The little girl in the book, Dakota, is curious and, like many children, she asks her Mom about the things she is noticing – unknowingly uncovering hidden bias and stereotypes embedded in the world around us through the eyes of a child. I like this book because it’s a good entry point to a conversation with a child about the inequality they might be witnessing in the world around them. It validates the stuff many racialized immigrant children already know and feel but may not have the words to describe, and gives ideas about ways to create change.

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Ilaneet Goren is a social worker, facilitator, and diversity consultant with over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector in Toronto. Committed to equity and social justice, she has worked with immigrants as a counselour, group facilitator, and career mentor. Ilaneet specializes in experiential education and mindfulness techniques with a focus on addressing bias, prejudice, and discrimination. In her current role as manager at Harmony Movement, an equity and diversity education organization, Ilaneet designs and delivers diversity education programs for community organizations and private sector partners. Her early life in Soviet Ukraine and in Israel have given her a unique and intimate perspective on how social and political contexts shape a person’s identity and culture.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Four questions for … Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership Council Member Dr. Elif Günçe

I asked Council Member, Immigration Partnership Waterloo Region Dr. Elif Günçe:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children (birth to age eight)?

They either become introvert or they learn to hate very early. But racism and stereotyping can exist in both parties. This fact is mostly overlooked. Children can learn to hate within their own family if the parents transfer their learned anger and hatred to them. And as the families try to keep their cultural identity, children are exposed to a new culture outside the family and if the family or the community at large is not supportive, they may end up in a limbo where they feel that they belong neither here nor there.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

Children need to be with their peers in the host community as much as possible and as soon as possible. I do not support their segregation within their own communities because of barriers made up in adults’ minds such as the language barrier. There is no language barrier for children! They may not know the language yet but they will learn it quickly if we do not impose ‘our’ barriers to them.

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Create safe spaces for children where they can explore their new environment, like summer camps. But do not separate newcomer children from other children. All children of Canada (Aboriginal children, children who were born in Canada, children who recently immigrated) need to be together. They will be each other’s best support systems.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

I will not recommend a book but I will recommend this: Take the children to libraries, let them explore the world of books and the world’s books. Most newcomer children may have not seen a library in their life, neither have their parents. And libraries may become the best shelter for newcomer children.

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Dr. Elif Gunce is a Council Member with the Immigration Partnership, Waterloo Region , an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UWO Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Instructor at McMaster University FHS Global Health MSc Program.

Elif blogs at Look How Small the World Is. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Four questions for … immigration policy expert Andrew Griffith

I asked Andrew Griffith:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children?

From what I see, and some of the points made by activists, academics and some policy initiatives, is the risk of low expectations and not necessarily pushing and encouraging children to fulfill and develop their potential. This issue has been raised in particular by members of the Black communities. It seems to be less of an issue for other communities given their high levels of post-secondary education compared to non-visible minorities. The overall risk of alienation remains but in general the Canadian school system appears to be doing a relatively good job on integration.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

For newcomer children, I think the main place integration occurs is through the public school systems. Given that family members in some communities provide childcare, there may be a need for additional ESL support in early years. For parents who opt for private faith-based schooling, there may be further integration challenges. There remain challenges in determining what is reasonable and what is not reasonable accommodation, as excessive accommodation can undermine integration efforts (e.g., sex ed debates in Ontario).

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Talk to teachers, educators and CMEC and others to assess gaps (apart from funding!). But this issue is more appropriately dealt with at the local and provincial levels than federal.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

Too far removed from the days our kids were small and we would read to them and encourage them to read. Obviously, books that highlight a range of communities/identities should be part of the mix.

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Andrew Griffith is the former Director General – Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Andrew led policy and program development to strengthen citizenship, inclusion and participation, and intercultural understanding.

He is a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Andrew is the author of several books, including Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote, providing an integrated view of how well multiculturalism is working, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, describing the relationship between the bureaucratic and political levels. Andrew comments on citizenship, multiculturalism and related issues, in his blog and the media.

 

 

 

 

Follow Andrew on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and learn more about his books.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Four questions for … author and storyteller Rukhsana Khan

I asked Ruhksana Khan:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children?

They suffer. Feeling like they’re less. I’m not sure if there’s much the host country can do to change this. It comes down to people valuing personal character above possessions and that kind of goes against human nature. We tend to get impressed by fancy things.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

I think it would be good to get students to partner up with the newcomer students so that they might feel less lonely and isolated. The local students could learn about where the newcomers are coming from, and read Coming to Canada to gain empathy of how difficult it would be to uproot oneself.

They can also take a look at my book Big Red Lollipop which deals tangentially with assimilation as it’s a story of a family that’s new to North America and the idea of only the invited child going to birthday parties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Find ways in which newcomers can contribute to the host country as soon as possible. I think it needs to be a two-way street. Newcomers have to feel as though they’re not beholden, that they’re making a contribution towards bettering Canada so the ‘charity’ isn’t going only one way.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

My book Coming to Canada is used by the Settlement Workers in the Schools program to help newcomers adjust to life in Canada. I would recommend it. I think it contains realistic expectations and I focused on the resources that make Canada such an amazing country like the library and education systems.

~

Rukhsana Khan is an award-winning author and storyteller. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan and immigrated to Canada at the age of three.

She grew up in a small town in southern Ontario and was ruthlessly bullied. When a grade eight teacher told her she was a writer, she thought the idea was crazy. Writers were white people. They were from England and America.

To be ‘sensible’ she graduated from college at the top of her class as a biological-chemical technician. When she couldn’t get a decent job she decided to be ‘unsensible’ and become a writer. It took eight years to get her first book published. Now she has twelve books published (one of which was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 100 greatest children’s books in the last 100 years).

Rukhsana Khan’s website & YouTube channel

~

immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Teaching children about race, racism, and racial literacy

Taken from a piece on racial bias and children from US-based embracerace.org

How to teach children about racial and cultural literacy

“1. Start early. Let your child know that it’s perfectly okay to notice skin color and talk about race. Encourage her to ask questions, share observations and experiences, and be respectfully curious about race.

2. Realize that you are a role model to your child. What you say is important, but what you do, how diverse your circle of friends is, for example, will probably have an even bigger impact on your child. If he doesn’t attend a diverse school, if you’re able, consider enrolling him in activities such as sports leagues that are diverse. Choose books, toys, and movies that include people of different races and ethnicities. Visit museums with exhibits about a range of cultures and religions.

3. Let your child see you face your own biases. We’re less likely to pass on the biases we identify and work to overcome. Give your child an example of a bias, racial or otherwise, that you hold or have held. Share with your child things you do to confront and overcome that bias.

4. Know and love who you are. Talk about the histories and experiences of the racial, ethnic, and cultural groups you and your family strongly identify with. Talk about their contributions and acknowledge the less flattering parts of those histories as well. Tell stories about the challenges your family, your child’s parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents, others, has faced and overcome.

5. Develop racial cultural literacy by learning about and respecting others. Study and talk about the histories and experiences of groups we call African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Whites, among others. Be sure your child understands that every racial and ethnic group includes people who believe different things and behave in different ways. There is more diversity within racial groups than across them.

6. Be honest with your child, in age-appropriate ways, about bigotry and oppression. Children are amazing at noticing patterns, including racial patterns (who lives in their neighborhood versus their friends’ neighborhoods, for example). Help them make sense of those patterns, and recognize that bigotry and oppression are sometimes a big part of those explanations. Be sure your child knows that the struggle for racial fairness is still happening and that your family can take part in that struggle.

7. Tell stories of resistance and resilience. Every big story of racial oppression is also a story about people fighting back and “speaking truth to power.” Teach your child those parts of the story too. Include women, children and young adults among the “freedom fighters” in the stories you tell.

8. Teach your children to be “upstanders” for racial justice. Help your child understand what it means to be, and how to be, a change agent. Whenever possible, connect the conversations you’re having to the change you and your child want to see, and to ways to bring about that change.

9. Plan for a marathon, not a sprint. Make race talks with your child routine. Race is a topic you should plan to revisit again and again in many different ways over time. It’s okay to say, “I’m not sure” or “Let’s come back to that later, okay?” But then be sure to come back to it”.

14th National Metropolis conference, Feb 29-March 3, sessions on immigrant children, youth & families

The 14th National Metropolis conference theme is Future Immigration Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada. It will be held February 29 – March 3, 2012 at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto.

immigrantchildren.ca is delighted to see so many workshops and a dedicated poster session that focus on immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families:

Thurs March 1, 2012 Workshops

Family violence towards young newcomer women
This workshop will explore family violence towards young newcomer women (ages 15-30). Presentations will examine factors that contribute to abuse and violence, barriers and facilitators to seeking help, the experiences of shelter staff in offering appropriate services, and existing government policies and programs related to this type of family violence.

Organizer
Lucia Madariaga-Vignudo, Qualtrica Associates
Tuula Heinonen, University of Manitoba

Participants
Priya Sharma, University of Manitoba
Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Help: The Experience of Young Newcomer Women Affected by Family Violence in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Lucia Madariaga-Vignudo, Qualtrica Associates
Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Help: The Experience of Young Newcomer Women Affected by Family Violence in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Janine Fraser, Edmonton Women’s Shelter Ltd.
Providing Shelter to Young Newcomer Women Fleeing Family Violence: A Service Provider’s Perspective

Hoori Hamboyan, Justice Canada
Family violence policy and its impact on ethno-cultural minority communities

Anna Korteweg, University of Toronto
Religion, Culture, and the Politicization of Honour-Related Violence: A Critical Analysis of Media and Policy Debates in Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada

Chair
Tuula Heinonen, University of Manitoba

At the margins but longing to belong: Immigrant and refugee youth in Canadian schools Immigrant teenagers experience a steep learning curve as they attempt to learn either English or French, complete high school and integrate into Canadian society. In this workshop we will explore the social and linguistic integration experiences of newcomers at school in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec as well as policy implications.

Organizer
Antoinette Gagné, University of Toronto

Participants
Ranya Khan, University of Toronto
Meeting the needs of war-affected refugees in Manitoba high schools

Sunny Lau, Bishop’s University
Developing immigrant learners’ academic expertise through the promotion of identities of competence

Stephanie Soto Gordon, Toronto District Board of Education
Growing new roots: Coming together – New immigrant and Canadian teenagers

Antoinette Gagne, University of Toronto
Growing new roots: Coming together – New immigrant and Canadian teenagers

Yamin Qian, University of Toronto
More than English proficiency: Chinese adolescents’ peer networks and English use in Toronto

Marilyn Steinbach, Université de Sherbrooke
Social integration of immigrant adolescents in secondary schools in regional Quebec

Chair
Antoinette Gagné, University of Toronto

Discussant
Clea Schmidt, University of Manitoba

Female genital cutting in the Canadian context: Global bodies and immigration The 1990s was a time of much attention to the issue of Female Genital Cutting (FGC) in Canada with the development of legal policies, original research and innovative programming in the community. In this workshop, presenters from different sectors and disciplines will address a renewed interest in all of these areas.

Organizer
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre

Participants
Shereen Denetto, Sexuality Education Resource Centre
Women, Men and Youth’s Perspectives of Female Genital Cutting and Change In Winnipeg

Gillian Einstein, University of Toronto
Pain in Somali – Canadian Women: Neurological Consequences of Female Genital Circumcision

Perron Liette, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologist Canada
Female Genital Cutting / Mutilation: SOGC Working for Change

Notisha Massaquoi, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre
Policy Development in Canada: Past, Present and Future

Bilkis Visandjée, University of Montréal
Clinical Imperatives, Research Perspectives: Giving Quality of Care in the Context of Traditional Practices

Chair
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre

Immigration and mothering This session will examine the multiple and shifting roles, relationships, constructions and representations of mothers and mothering in the processes of immigration. Various dimensions will be explored from issues of identity (and intersecting identities in terms of race and class), to work in the home, family and community, as well as the negotiation of family arrangements, relationships with the second generation, and roles with respect to transnational and cross-cultural mothering. In so doing, this workshop will consider how mothers contribute to immigration, settlement and integration, as well as the impact such processes have on mothering.

Organizer
Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Atlantic Metropolis Centre
Evangelia Tastsoglou, Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Metropolis Centre
Guida C. Man, York University and CERIS-The Ontario Metropolis Centre

Participants
Guida C. Man, York University and CERIS-The Ontario Metropolis Centre
Negotiating Work and Family: Exploring Transnational Migration Practices of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada

Mehrunnisa Ali, Ryerson University
When Mothering Never Ends: The Experiences of Mothering Teenagers and Young Adults in the South Asian Diaspora

Farishta Murzban Dinshaw, COSTI Family Violence Initiative
Mothers of Sons: Gender Roles and Cultural Continuity in Immigrant Communities

Anna Kirova, University of Alberta and Prairie Metropolis Centre
Involving Newcomer Parents and Children in Negotiating Cultural Identities Through Art-Making

Chair
Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Atlantic Metropolis Centre

Discussant
Evangelia Tastsoglou, Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic Metropolis Centre

Improving the lives of immigrant and refugee youth: Collaborative community, research, and policy initiatives The complex needs of our growing population of youth from immigrant and refugee families will be addressed by academic, professional, and community participants. Promising collaborative approaches in youth activism, local partnerships, diversity training, and health improvement among immigrant youth will be highlighted, with an eye toward policy and programming.

Organizer
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre

Participants
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre
Learning from Youth Leaders in Social Justice Activism

James Baker, Memorial University
The Making of a “Welcoming Community”: Youth Perspectives on Inclusion, Integration, and Participation

Marisa Cardeal-Casagrande, McMaster University
Fostering Leadership and Engagement with the “Youth Futures Program”

Hassan Vatanparast, University of Saskatchewan
Improving the Health and Nutrition of Immigrant and Refugee Children

Mischa Davison, Saskatoon Open Door Society
“Creating Youth Culture”: Teen Diversity Leadership Training Program

Chair
Darren Lund, Prairie Metropolis Centre

Discussant
Fariborz Birjandian, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Friday, March 2, 2012 Workshops

Second generation youth: Educational and employment trajectories among Filipino youth in Canada The Philippines is now Canada’s top source of immigrants and this population has a distinctive set of arrival and settlement experiences. The echoes of these experiences are evident in the educational and employment outcomes of second generation Filipino-Canadian youth. This session explores these outcomes across four cities in Canada.

Organizer
Philip Kelly, York University

Participants
Philip Kelly, York University
Geographies of the Second Generation: Filipino-Canadian Class Reproduction in Urban
Canada

Maureen Mendoza, University of British Columbia
Educated Minorities: The Experiences of Filipino Canadian University Students

Darlyne Bautista, Winnipeg School Division
Exploring Culture in Our Schools: Policy Discussion and Community Practice

Veronica Javier, Community Social Worker

Julia Mais, York University
Behind the Resume: Influences on the Educational and Employment Trajectories of 1.5 and Second Generation Filipino-Canadians

Daisydee Bautista, Aksyon Ng Ating Kabataan (ANAK) Inc.
Exploring Culture in Our Schools: Policy Discussion and Community Practice

Chair
Mila Garcia, Community Alliance for Social Justice

Discussant
Conely De Leon, York University

The Concepts of age and generation in the migration context: Implications for policy-research This workshop focuses on the concepts of age and generation in migration contexts and examines the inter-play of age, generation, as well as gender, race and immigrant and family status in the social and economic outcomes of immigrants in Canada. Conceptual and methodological issues will be explored. Research findings related to how age and generational status are key indicators of both the context of migrations and the settlement and integration processes will be shared. Policy and program implications for governments and service providers will also be identified.

Organizer
Christina Clark-Kazak, York University
Laure Lafrance, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Participants
Alexandra Ricard-Guay, McGill University
Unpacking human trafficking definitions through the lens of age-sensitivity

Ranu Basu, York University
Building Community in Suburban Inner-City Schools: Scarborough as Site for Emancipatory Practice

Yogendra Shakya, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services
Challenges and Opportunities in Family Role Changes for Refugee Youth from the Afghani, Karen and Sudanese Communities

May Farrales, Unversity of British Columbia
Holding spaces: geographies of Filipino-Canadian students’ educational experiences

Chair
Christina Clark-Kazak, York University

Post-secondary education participation: Access and supports among immigrant youth in Canada This workshop reports, compares, and contrasts findings with respect to post-secondary education participation of immigrant youth with particular attention to access and supports (e.g. structural factors, social supports, special needs, engagement) from two sources — 17 year olds in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and 19 year olds in British Columbia’s Metro Vancouver School Districts (MVSD).

Organizer
Paul Anisef, York University
Vicky Maldonado, McMaster University

Participants
Robert Brown, Toronto District School Board

Gillian Parekh, York University

Paul Anisef, York University
Post-secondary Participation of First, Second, and Third Generation Students: The Role of Social and Academic Supports in Secondary School

Vicky Maldonado and Scott Davies, McMaster University
Horizontal Stratification and the Maclean’s Rankings: University Participation of Native-born and Immigrant Youth in the Toronto District School Board

Kristyn Frank, Independent Researcher
Does Parental and Teacher Engagement Influence the Field of Study Choices of Immigrant and Canadian-born University Students?

Maria Adamuti-Trache, University of Texas at Arlington

Robert Sweet, Lakehead University
High School to PSE Pathways of Metro Vancouver Students: Ethnic Group Differences

Chair
Paul Anisef, York University

Discussant
Roula Anastasakos, Toronto District School Board

Limited access to healthcare for uninsured families and children: Ontario and Quebec This workshop focuses on health status and access to care of immigrant, refugee, and migrant children, youth and pregnant women who do not have provincial health care coverage. It will present new research findings, health provider perspectives and health service delivery challenges, and discuss implications for policy and practice.

Organizer
Joanna Anneke Rummens, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Cécile Rousseau, McGill University and CSSS de la Montagne (Parc Extension)
Sharon Chakkalackal, The Hospital for Sick Children

Participants
Joanna Anneke Rummens, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto
Sharon Chakkalackal, The Hospital for Sick Children
Access to Health Care for Uninsured Immigrant, Refugee and Migrant Child and Youth in Ontario

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe, McGill University
Francesca Meloni, McGill University
Alexandra Ricard-Guay, McGill University
Health Status of Uninsured Children & Pregnant Women in Quebec

Manavi Handa, Assocation of Ontario Midwives
Karline Wilson-Mitchell, Sages-Femmes Rouge Valley Midwives Scarborough/Durham Region
On the Ground: Access to Healthcare Issues for Uninsured Women and their Canadian Babies

Joesiann Nelson, Black Creek Community Health Centre,
Simone Atungo, Mount Sinai Hospital
Before and After: Seeking Pathways to Care for Uninsured Moms and Children at Community Health Centres and Hospitals

Chair
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada

Discussant
Wendy Katherine, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

Community-based health promotion programs for children and their families: How the Public Health Agency of Canada is improving the health of recent immigrants This workshop will highlight the Public Health Agency of Canada’s community-based programs and their work in the health promotion of recent immigrants and their families. There will be an overview of the programs from a national perspective, along with specific regional issues and the experiences of projects delivering health promotion programming in the community.

Organizer
Dana Gaertner, Public Health Agency of Canada/Agence de santé publique du Canada

Participants
Jennette Toews, Public Health Agency of Canada – National Office /Agence de santé publique du Canada – Bureau central
CAPC and recent immigrants: A national health promotion program for children and their families

Blanca Serrano, Public Health Agency of Canada – Ontario Region /Agence de santé publique du Canada – Région de l’Ontario
Promoting the health and well-being of children and families in Ontario: Working with new immigrants

Julie Burdon, The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre
Innovative solutions that meet the needs of a diverse population at our prenatal and parenting programs

Marie-Michèle Delisle-Bédard, Maison pour femmes immigrantes
L’intervention auprès des femmes et de leurs enfants victimes ou exposés à la violence: succès et défis

Immigrant and refugee visible minority youth in Canada The presence of immigrant and refugee visible minority youth in Canada has enhanced the growth of Canada’s population and labour force. As this is an advantage for the country, it is also important to determine who these youth are, their circumstances, needs, and how they can contribute to Canada’s multicultural society.

Organizer
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University

Participants
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University
Miu Chung Yan, University of British Columbia
Tejwant Chana, University of Alberta
Dorla Harris, MOSAIC
Farah Prashadcolah, Youth Settlement Worker
Lianne Lee, Immigrant Sector Council of Calgary
Heather Robertson, Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc.
Cristina Guerrero, University of Toronto

Chair
J. Alejandro Hernandez-Ramirez, Simon Fraser University

Engaging immigrant children in Ontario and Quebec schools through the creation of multimodal identity texts How can teachers, researchers and community members collaboratively draw on the cultural and linguistic resources that immigrant children bring to their learning? This workshop examines how students’ expressions of their diverse identities and experiences through multimodal and multilingual creations deepen their engagement and facilitate their integration at school.

Organizer
Gail Prasad, University of Toronto
Marie Paule Lory, Université de Montréal

Participants
Marie Paule Lory, Université de Montréal
Quand le plurilinguisme prend corps dans des ateliers d’expression théâtrale et d’éveil aux langues

Gail Prasad, University of Toronto
What Moves Me? Exploring Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children’s representations of their mobilities through self-portraits and photography

Saskia Stille, University of Toronto
Engaging in cultural production at school: Using digital media to create identity texts with emergent bilingual children

Susan Hind, Toronto District School Board
Found in Translation: Showcasing home-school-community cultural and linguistic diversity through visual media creation

Amelia Jimenez, Inner City Angels
Found in Translation: Showcasing home-school-community cultural and linguistic diversity through visual media creation

Saturday March 3, 2012 Workshops

Muslim students in Canadian schools: Meeting students’ academic, social and faith-based needs How can Canadian schools meet the needs of their Muslim students? This session will highlight the findings from a study that included teachers’ voices, experiences and practices related to the schooling of their Muslim students, and discuss how schools and teachers attempt to support religious practices in a secular space.

Organizer
Ranya Khan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Participants
Sararoz Niyozov, University of Toronto
Ranya Khan, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Arif Anwar, University of Toronto
Nadeem Memon, Razi Group
Uzma Jamil, McGill Transcultural Research and Intervention Team

Chair
Sararoz Niyozov, University of Toronto

International migration and maternity Maternity may amplify socioeconomic marginalization and the vulnerability of immigrant women. Reproduction is a critical event on the life trajectory and represents an imperative sphere of attention. This roundtable enables decisive exchange between researchers, and government and non-government representatives, regarding socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes perpetuating maternal health care inequities.

Organizer
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta

Participants
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada
Myfanwy Morgan, King’s College London
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta
Annalita Shireen Bell, University of Alberta
Lanre Tunji-Ajay, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario
Helen Vallianatos, University of Alberta

Chair
Gina Higginbottom, University of Alberta

Discussant
Deb Kocay, Public Health Agency of Canada

Immigrant mothers, health outcomes and promising practices to reduce health inequities Health inequities can affect immigrant and refugee mothers, and, as maternal health is a spread-used indicator to assess the state of well-being in most countries, there is a need to explore how immigrant mothers’ health can be affected once in Canada. Speakers at this workshop will showcase recent research on maternal health differences between immigrant and Canadian-born mothers. They will examine several health indicators and determinants of health as well as the maternal experiences, perceptions, knowledge, and practices of both populations. The workshop will also include the preliminary findings from the Migrant Friendly Maternity Care project as well as a community perspective on a number of resources and initiatives being implemented to address the reproductive needs of newcomer women and their families.

Organizer
Solange van Kemenade, Public Health Agency of Canada
Anita Gagnon, McGill University

Participants
Marcelo Urquia, Saint Michael’s Hospital
How immigrant women are doing in terms of maternal and infant health in Canada?

Dawn Kingston, University of Manitoba
Comparison of Maternity Experiences of Canadian-Born and Recent and Non-Recent Immigrant Women: Findings From the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey

Maureen Heaman, University of Manitoba
Comparison of Maternity Experiences of Canadian-Born and Recent and Non-Recent Immigrant Women: Findings From the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey

Saleha Bismilla, Toronto Public Health
Giving Birth in a New Land

Anita Gagnon, McGill University
Can Migrant Friendly Maternity Care (MFMC) improve perinatal health outcomes?

Chair
Solange van Kemenade, Public Health Agency of Canada

Refugee youth negotiating change This roundtable examines some of the diverse and interconnected challenges and opportunities refugee youth encounter as they negotiate various life transitions in the context of settlement in Canada. Discussion topics include education, settlement/youth services, creativity, mental health, social and cultural integration, gang involvement, sexuality, and employment.

Organizer
Alejandro Hernandez, Simon Fraser University
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia

Participants
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia
Paula Migliardi, Sexuality Education Resource Centre
Susan Frohlick, University of Manitoba
Marian Rossiter, University of Alberta
Nora Becker, Saskatchewan Intercultural Association
Wendy Auger, Immigrant Services Calgary
Jane Wambui Gichuru, University of Western Ontario
Zheng Zhang, University of Western Ontario
Sarah Fletcher, University of Victoria
Nona Grandea, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Chair
Jenny Francis, University of British Columbia

Poster Sessions

Des services communautaires qui bonifient la relation école-famille : le cas d’un organisme montréalais

Annick Lavoie, Université de Montréal
Fasal Kanouté, Université de Montréal
Justine Gosselin Gagné, Université de Montréal

Enhancing our ability to respond to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) newcomer youth within the settlement sector
Zack Marshall, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Tess Vo, Griffin Centre Mental Health Services

The Role of transnational families in immigrant settlement
Amrita Hari, York University

Grandparental caregiving in Chinese-Canadian immigrant families
Cynthia Sing-Yu Shih, York University
Yvonne Bohr, York University

Afghan newcomer youth in Toronto: Exploring leisure and information practices during settlement
Lisa Quirke, University of Toronto

Étudiants internationaux et persévérance aux études postsecondaires
Sarah Mainich, Université de Montréal

The African Canadian youth leadership project: Encouraging a critical reading of the Canadian urban landscape
Troy Glover, University of Waterloo
Debjani Henderson, University of Waterloo

Visit the Metropolis conference website for more information. To register, visit here.

Immigrant children, youth and families: A Qualitative analysis of the challenges of integration

This spring, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa concluded work on “Immigrant children, youth and families: A Qualitative analysis of the challenges of integration”, as part of their Families in Community project.

The report addresses the disconnect when newcomer families feel their parenting and child-rearing methods are not acknowledged/respected and the tension service providers feel about some newcomers who they perceive demonstrate a lack of commitment to early child development.

Next stages in the SPCO Families in Community project will result in:

An analysis of best/good practices for culturally-based family supports by ethno-cultural organizations.

Supports to good/best practices within 8 pilot projects with small ethno-cultural organizations.

A resource kit for mainstream family services based on good practices serving new immigrant families.

The report will be launched at the annual Social Planning Council of Ottawa AGM, May 26, 2011 in Ottawa. For information, contact Helene by May 15 at 613-236-9300 ext. 300 office@spcottawa.on.ca.  Free admission, but donations are welcome.

Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to immigrantchildren.ca, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

FRP Perspectives in Family Support (Spring 2010) special issue on immigrant families

The Canadian Association of Family Resource Centres (FRP Canada) has released a special edition of their journal, Perspectives in Family Support with a focus on immigrant families:

In “The Participation of Immigrant Families in the Activities of Family Resource Programs”, Marie Rhéaume reports on a research study conducted in Québéc that examined the issues and “distances” between immigrant mothers and Québécois mothers and found that, overall, family resource centres because of the “values that underlie the work of these community-based organizations, particularly the climate of respect, help build bridges between the two groups”. For more on the study, see here.

In “Taking an Advocacy With Approach”, as opposed to an advocacy for approach, Lianne Fisher argues for the importance of self-reflection of family resource practitioners who work with newcomers to recognize and resolve possible stigmatizing and marginalizing that may occur when practitioners seek to help newcomers.

An excerpt of “Phase 2 of FRP Canada’s Welcome Here Project: A Summary Report of Lessons Learned”, also available on the FRP Canada website welcomehere.ca.

The issue of cultural adaptation and/or interpretation v. simple translation is covered by Betsy Mann in “Reflecting on Issues of Translation and Interpretation”.

Researcher Dr. Judith K. Bernhard writes on “What are the Essential Elements of Valid Research? The Problem of ‘Data’ and their Collection in Cross-Cultural Contexts” from a personal viewpoint as both an immigrant to Canada and now a practicing academic in immigrant-family related studies.