Gun violence, intergenerational trauma and mental health are topics of undeniable importance to folks living in the city of Toronto. Oftentimes, however, these conversations are inaccessible to young, urban populations. The Book Art Music Collective, otherwise known as BAM, works to create safe spaces for youth to explore these issues and build a strong sense of self. Their programming emphasises the importance of healing through art making practises, including art therapy programs, community capacity building workshops, online campaigns and conference and engagement activities.
Gun violence is an issue that disproportionately affects racialized youth and visible minority populations living in Scarborough and Regent Park. In June of this year, BAM launched Rays of Hope – Youth United for Safety, a six-month virtual workshop series for BIPOC youth between the ages of sixteen to twenty-nine. Folks will come together once a month to address youth safety issues, and to develop de-escalation, mediation and relationship building skills. Sessions highlight interactive topics on family harmony, relationship and peacebuilding, mental health and trauma awareness, resilience-building and self-defence. Youth will also have access to mental health supports and resources throughout the duration of the program.
In addition to these workshops, BAM will be collecting data from community members about their experiences with gun violence across the City of Toronto. The organization hopes to use this data as a resource and tool of education for community members. Check out this link if you would like to participate in this anonymous and confidential five-minute survey.
BAM fosters an anti-oppression framework in all that they do. The majority of BAM’s workshops and events are facilitated by youth who have been intimately impacted by gun violence. Unlike other community groups and institutional supports, BAM’s staff and volunteers are able to create strong relationships with community youth populations that is rooted in lived experience and collective healing. This innovative and nuanced approach to community care work is essential to the liberation of youth living in the city of Toronto. We are so proud to Trustee them, and look forward to watching their programming grow.
Want to get involved?
Sign up to participate in the Rays of Hope – Youth United for Safety workshop series using this link!
You can also donate to Book Art Music Collective on their donor page.