Good afternoon, my name is Roderick Brereton and I am co-founder of Urban Rez Solutions along with my social enterprise partner Farley Flex.

We applaud Premiere Wynn, the provincial government and in particular Minister Coteau  for the leadership role he has taken with regard to the Anti-racism Act and The Black Youth Action Plan.

We are here as strong supporters of Bill 114 and the goal to maintain an anti-racism strategy that aims to eliminate systemic racism and advance racial equity in the Province of Ontario.

There isn’t enough time to get into the myriad of impacts caused by racism. Rather we would like to focus on our commitment to the mitigation and ultimate eradication of what may be the most pervasive social issue of our time and the support we intend to provide in order to achieve the goals of ending racism and advancing racial equality.

Our company Urban Rez Solutions has been working with racialized and marginalized youth and communities for over 15 years and in particular, Black and First Nations communities.

As we see it, the Anti-racism Act is not only long overdue in this province but if effectively and strategically marketed, executed and measured will result in a paradigm shift in the thinking and behaviour of generations to come.

We are very encouraged by the province’s message of Collective Impact and the recognition that racism is a social issue that can only be addressed through collaboration.  Collaboration that is inclusive of all sectors – namely, government, community organizations, faith, corporate, education, mental health and communities including youth and especially those with lived experience.

Urban Rez Solutions has developed a proven evidence based framework that is fundamental to the process of societal change. The antidotal approach cuts across all sectors and serves as a tool for resolve.

In 2016 Urban Rez Solutions launched phase one of the Just Think 1st initiative to reduce gun violence in the city of Toronto. We did so in partnership with the Toronto Police Services board.  We immediately acknowledged that there were several organizations already working against gun violence and that it made perfect sense to reach out to them as partners. As a result of that recognition, we developed a model that we call the Collective Action Partnership or CAP that  not only aligns stakeholders around an identified social issue but will serve to grow the capacity of organizations to better meet the needs of the communities they serve. The CAP model is seamlessly transferable to all social issues including racism and racial inequity. So not only will Urban Rez Solutions support this bill, so will all members of the CAP.  Collaboration is the shortest and most effective route to broad based societal change. Anti-Racism and racial equity are no exception.

Additionally, Urban Rez Solutions will offer branding and engagement strategies that will bring broad based awareness and engagement around the issue of racism. As music industry professionals Urban Rez Solutions understands branding and engagement.  We effectively utilize pop culture marketing which includes digital and traditional media strategies and has become the most effective way to build a brand, generate buy-in and inspire call to action. Anti-racism and racial equity are brands waiting to happen.

Over the last 10 years, we have effectively transferred our marketing and engagement strategies to the community sector with proven success.

Should the Province and the Anti-racism Directorate embrace this perspective we are here to say that you have a partner in Urban Rez Solutions

Thank you.

We welcome your questions and comments.

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