We believe that the most urgent need amongst people of African descent in Alberta is the capacity to self-determine our realities and to have our social determinants of health needs met. We see HIV and its disproportional impact in various communities of African descent as symptomatic of deep structural and systemic inequities. As such understanding and addressing these upstream drivers and vulnerabilities is crucial.
There aren't any robust quantitative and qualitative studies on various systemic and structural drivers of health inequity amongst people of African descent in Alberta as well there exists a gap in communications and public awareness about skills, assets, deep collective knowledge and positive deviance within various communities of people of African descent. Furthermore, there is a need to bridge social capital and foster social cohesion amongst diverse multiple ethnic-cultural-linguistic communities of people of African descent in order to push for systems level changes. This social cohesion is important for people of African descent to enable action on various foundational structural causes of health inequity within governance, macroeconomic policy, social policy, and public policy, and to foster appreciative inquiry around how to address entangled issues contributing to health inequity such as various aspects of socioeconomic class, gender, racism, socioeconomic position, various social determinants of health including our health system itself as an intermediary determinant of health.
The Ribbon Rouge Foundation is convening ongoing and continuing dialogue: Through the Listening Campaign, we are facilitating opportunities to bring multiple stakeholders across multiple sectors and disciplines of society and from three levels of government, from diverse community, ideological and religious perspectives together. This initiative will foster learning and deep generative listening to assets, aspirations, values and needs of diverse African communities and in so doing sustainably co- create systems level interventions to tackle structural determinants of health inequity in order to meet social determinants of health needs for Africans by Africans.
Current Listening Campaigns in planning stages:
- Alberta STBBI Collective Impact - In collaboration with Communicable Diseases at AHS, Researchers from UofA, UofC and various Alberta based African, Caribbean and Black community leaders
- Norquest College - In collaboration with faculty and students in the Social Work and ESL programs and for Black History Month.
- Ribbon Rouge Foundation Artist Collective and African, Caribbean, Black community mobilization in Alberta