On September 8, residents of the Jane and Finch area attended a black youth forum held at the Jamaican Canadian Association. The main subject; lowering the number of high school dropouts amongst black youth.
The Tabano Institute, a non-profit organization in Toronto organized the forum to give the community, and candidates running for School Board Trustee a chance to share their opinions on the issue, and come to a solution.
“The forum was intended to provide a space where citizens can speak comfortably about the issues affecting their community,” Tabano member, Newe Kwasi said.
Many issues were discussed, including gun violence and the marginalization of black youths. However, the high school dropout rate was at the top of the list.
“The constant rise is the reason we have this forum today,” Kwasi said, “We want to make sure that the candidates share our values. our vision, inclusion, diversity, and economic development, so if elected, this issue can be addressed.”
Annual statistics from the Toronto District School Board show that there is a high percentage of black youths who drop out of high school, some of which fail to graduate. Citizens from the area were dissatisfied that the current trustees were not taking accountability for the rise in the dropout rate among the black youths.
Six black candidates running for the municipal election attended the forum. All spoke about issues affecting the community.
Michelle Minott, candidate for School Board Trustee, Ward 4, told parents that if elected she would make sure that “proper accountability will be met at all times.”
Members of the Jane and Finch community made suggestions such as increasing after school activities and sports. This, hopefully will keep students interested in attending school, and give them something to look forward to and stay involved with.