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Disability and Migration Politics Tess Vo Nov 11, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Disability and Migration Politics Tess Vo Nov 11, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disability and Migration Politics Tess Vo Nov 11, 2014

2 Griffin Centre  Griffin Centre is a non-profit charitable mental health agency providing flexible and accessible services to youth, adults and their families  Our mission is to promote positive change for vulnerable youth and adults with mental health challenges and/or developmental disabilities and their families  We are dedicated to delivering innovative services and developing creative partnerships that enhance lives and communities

3 reachOUT  reachOUT is a creative, inclusive & accessible program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer youth and adults in the Greater Toronto Area  We provide a range of innovative projects, which include drop-in groups, outreach, individual and family counselling, newcomer services, consultation, crisis response, as well as arts-based and sports-focused initiatives  We offer safe spaces that reflect the diversity of our queer and trans communities

4 Background  In 2008, Griffin Centre received initial funding to establish reachOUT Newcomer Network (RNN)  A settlement program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) newcomer youth ages 13 to 24 in Toronto  Staff team  1 Project Coordinator,  2 Settlement Workers (all full-time)  Goal  Increase access to settlement services for LGBTQ newcomer youth

5 reachOUT Newcomer Network Initial Needs Assessment Information/ Orientation Translation/ Interpretation Referrals Solution focused counseling Service Bridging LGBTQ drop-in groups Core Services

6 reachOUT  Research/Program Evaluation  Curriculum Development  Community Outreach  Arts-based programming  Sports Activities

7 CONTESTED Territories Defining Disability Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project

8 Social Construction of Disability  Disability as oppression rather than individual deficit  Disabled people oppressed based on impairment  Bodies matter– sensory, physical, intellectual, environmental and impacts on our bodies  Intersects with race, class, gender and sexuality and many ways to experience and embody disability Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project

9 Defining Disability  Disability as a contested category  The way that we name and define disability directly impacts the response to disability  Problem of where disability is located - within the person versus located in social organization  Dominance of medicine as authority - the medical model  The Construct of the “normal” Developed by Onyii Udegbe, Disabled Youth People’s Project

10 Self Advocacy Compass youth define disability:  Something you’re born with  Something that somebody labels you as having  A mind frame (a way of thinking)  People think that you’re dumber or slower than others but they don’t understand that having an intellectual disability can make you stronger or wiser in other places  Living with stereotypes as well as also being queer  People think you cannot have a regular life or partner  Sometimes it’s shameful and a secret that you don’t want people to know

11 Disability and Migration


13 How to be an Ally  Be flexible in all aspects of your work  This might mean being flexible around your scheduling, length of time you plan on spending with someone, problem solving, rules etc.  Be consistent  Don’t pity individuals with disabilities; action is important, work together  Use clear communication

14 How to be an Ally  DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ON AN INDIVIDUALS ABILITES: don’t assume what a person’s ability may or may not be. Do not assume if they are “high” functioning or “low” functioning. Also don’t assume what someone’s abilities are based on stereotypes or assumptions.  DON'T "OUT" PEOPLE. Do not force anyone to disclose their personal identities. Do not force them to disclose the labels that have been placed on them or their disabilities. Also, if you know that someone has a disability or a label, do not assume that you may tell anyone else. Be sensitive to the fact that some people are "out" in some areas of their lives, but not in others.

15 How to be an Ally  EDUCATE YOURSELF. If there are things you don't know or understand about disability issues, do some research, ask questions or contact a group that deals with these issues.  DISPLAY DISABILITY POSITIVE RESOURCES. Brochures and pamphlets about disability issues are visual indicators that a space is positive and welcoming.  TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY. Maintain an inclusive group, classroom, living or workspace by talking openly and respectfully about disability issues when they come up. Treat these issues as you would any other issue.  Advocate for universal design

16 Job Posting

17 ** One Full-time contract position with Griffin Centre's reachOUT program ** At Griffin Centre, we assist over 2,500 people each year to recognize their strengths, achieve their goals and improve their lives. Griffin Centre promotes positive change for vulnerable youth and adults with mental health challenges and/or developmental disabilities and their families. We are dedicated to delivering innovative services and developing creative partnerships that enhance lives and communities. The Position… Griffin Centre’s reachOUT Newcomer Network (RNN) is a program for newcomer youth and adults of colour, with a focus on serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) newcomers and newcomers with disabilities. This innovative program is focused on increasing service access for newcomer communities across Toronto by providing integrated settlement services including referrals, group supports, case management, solution-focused counselling and service bridging. We are currently seeking one full-time Project Coordinator/Settlement Worker who is sensitive to the cultural factors and needs in the lives of newcomers or government-assisted refugees, inclusive of LGBTQ community members. This position is a contract, from November 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015 with possibility of renewal based on funding.

18 The major position responsibilities include: Project Development and Coordination: Coordinate the development and implementation of RNN services and activities in collaboration with the project team, reachOUT Program Supervisor and relevant stakeholders. This includes creating work plans and identifying settlement service initiative innovations that are responsive to evolving community needs as well as those of the settlement and mental health system in Ontario. Provision of Settlement Services: Provide settlement support including case management, referral and solution focused counseling to newcomers and their families, especially LGBTQ and disabled newcomers, from diverse cultural backgrounds; manage a caseload of clients and ensure that written documentation for each file is consistently up to date; ensuring that the support provided to clients works within a client-centered, anti-oppressive, culturally responsive, youth engagement, critical disability and community development framework; enhance and increase the effective contributions of newcomers in organizations and communities across the GTA. Provide coordination to team of two Settlement/Outreach Workers in the provision of individual settlement services.

19 Your Qualifications... A strengths-based, harm reduction, critical disability, anti-racism/anti- oppression, sex positive, transpositive and youth engagement philosophy of service provision and a belief in the self-determination of service users; Above-average oral and written communication skills including report writing, excellent organizational abilities and time management; Knowledge of employment and social services for newcomers in Toronto and surrounding areas; Fluency in Kiswahili, Yoruba, Igbo, Somali, Twi, Tigrinya, French, Tagalog or American Sign Language is an asset; Lived experiences of homophobia, transphobia, anti-black racism and/or ableism and personal connection to queer and trans communities of colour, including newcomer and disability community are considered assets. To Apply… If you have the above qualifications and are ready to make a difference, please email your cover letter and resume to by October 31, 2014. Please quote file # by October 31, 2014. Please quote file # 34-14.

20 Closing Contact information: Tess Vo Supervisor, Community Connections and reachOUT Griffin Centre 24 Silverview Drive Toronto, ON M2M 2B3 416-559-8565 Email:

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