Black Youth in Politics: Exploring the Connections Between Youth Civic Participation and
Youth Identity

This project brings together scholars, youth and community organizations that focus on youth work as it relates to social, economic, and political livelihood. Youth activism and participation in social movements has been one of the defining features of civic life in the past several years. This activism has been more pronounced since the international actions for racial justice following George Floyd's murder in 2020, and during the covid-19 pandemic, which deepened economic inequalities. But what, exactly, is the relationship between young people’s participation in protest activities (e.g., in the streets, through social media) and at the ballot box? In general, young people play a crucial role in ensuring the political structures work for everyone. But despite the passion and drive of many young people to make a difference, they are often excluded from the decision-making processes and remain one of the most underrepresented groups in parliaments. This is particularly true for young people from ethnic minorities and marginalized groups. This is also a significant problem given that some of the world’s toughest challenges disproportionately affect youth, including unemployment,
environmental degradation, violent conflict, displacement, and insufficient access to education.

With a combination of webinars, community events and culturally-sensitive knowledge mobilization stragies, this project will examine whether the rise in youth voter turnout in Canada applies across minority groups, especially among Black youth.

Social inequalities in health

Retooling Black Anxiety

Exploring and intervening for anxiety among Black families with children in the criminal justice and child welfare systems in Ontario (EIA) is a pilot action study of Black families’ experiences of anxiety induced by encounters with the criminal justice system (CJS) and the child welfare system (CWS), that has become a pivotal research stream Dr. Boateng is pursuing with Dr. Dlamini Nombuso of York University, with community partners (Ghana Union of Canada and Gashanti Unity).

In this project, anxiety is used as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes (1) likely to affect the health and mental well-being of families interacting with the CJS or CWS. Thus, this EIA aims to work with Black families to (a) identify the relationship between the family identity status/ and dealing with anxiety; (b) identify family needs and resources to cope with anxiety (physical and virtual); (c) implement an intervention to help families deal with anxiety; and (d) develop resources and resource space for use by Black families experiencing anxiety. Read more on the project website.