When DYLOTT started planning for the Black Diplomacy Global Summit, we had to ask ourselves why? Why is it so important for us to create these spaces to have conversations surrounding achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Black Communities? And the simple answer is if not us, then who?
We believe that education is one of the keys to breaking barriers in any community. Our programs are designed to address barriers to social inclusion in employment, education and the broader social context. Our main goal is to knowledge mobilise first and to educate our communities that the Sustainable Development goals exist as a measurement tool to determine if progress is being made in our country and if they’re not, how can communities contribute to ensuring progress is achieved.
The SDGs can be used within Canadian provinces, regions and local communities as tools to address issues facing Black communities. By doing so we can hold our governments, corporations, private institutions and other stakeholders accountable for their actions or lack thereof that pertain to issues we believe take precedence in our everyday lives as a collective society.
When I was first introduced to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, I was astonished that there was a system set in place with a set timeframe for achievement called the Agenda 2030. The SDGs provide a very strong framework to ensure that we are unitedly progressing towards an agreed goal to more equitably and inclusively solve some of the biggest challenges facing our world, countries and communities where human rights are concerned. However, through our lived experience as members of Black communities in Canada, we have come to recognize that our voices are continuously missing from the sustainable solutions conversation.
I have had the opportunity to attend conferences that are centred around the SDGs, and heard senior policy-makers praise the youth for their hard work and strong will to advocate for the problems they experience and see around them, yet these same policy leaders have never actually given young people the platform to collaborate on how to proceed in rectifying those issues. For our Black Diplomacy Global Summit, we wanted to change that narrative.
Every year, through the Summit, DYLOTT’s programs come together to celebrate the end of our Black Diplomats Academy cohort. After a 9-month intensive immersion in education, mentorship and research, the Academy fellows and #LeadLikeAGirl program participants share their experiences and progress on understanding social justice from the Black experience perspective. Throughout the year, DYLOTT’s program participants learn from speakers who specialise in a wide range of industry sectors such as diplomacy, technology and climate change coming from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Following this, at an age appropriate level, we give program participants the task of exploring key areas of the Sustainable Development Goals, using what they learned from our speakers and by doing research on why they were created, how they’re being implemented, recommendations on what their next steps should be, and suggestions on how to execute those recommendations.
DYLOTT focuses on SDGs 4 – Quality Education, 5 – Gender Equality, 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, 10 – Reduced Inequalities, 11 – Sustainable Cities, 13 – Climate Action, 15 – Life on Land, 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, and 17 – Partnerships For The Goals to inform all our program offerings and to guide the development of the Black Diplomacy Summit themes.
We see the use of the SDGs in Agenda 2030 as a way forward for collective action amongst our governments, communities and corporations to challenge the inequalities facing Black communities in accessing vital resources facing underserved communities, look for equitable solutions regarding climate change and navigate a better way forward that is sustainable as technology advances. Our mission is to utilize Agenda 2030 to track progress of achievement in Black communities, championed by Black youth across the country.