A Psycho-social Check-up of the Quebec English Speaking Black Community on the 2nd Anniversary of the arrival of COVID‑19 in Canada

Koestner, Richard F. | $38,000

Quebec McGill University 2021 SSHRC

Quebec was the epicenter of the first wave of the COVID‑19 pandemic in Canada, recording more COVID‑19 deaths than the other provinces combined. Public health data revealed that Black communities were especially impacted by the pandemic, experiencing infection rates twice as high as the general population, and death rates more than twice as high. Although not at risk for death, young adults in Black communities were especially at risk for mental health problems related to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Longitudinal studies conducted in the Spring of 2020 suggest that Black young adults were especially likely to experience depressive symptoms during the lockdown required by COVID-19.

We propose a series of outreach events for Spring 2022 timed for the 2-year anniversary of the arrival of COVID-19. The events will discuss how the English-speaking Black community in Quebec (QESB) were affected by the pandemic in terms of psychosocial well being. The discussion will focus on young adults. In addition to the pandemic, we will also examine how the Black Lives Matters movement that arose in the summer of 2020 may have mitigated or accentuated the impact of the pandemic.

Specifically, we plan a series of three 2-hour colloquies conducted on Zoom, followed by a one-day conference that would include live attendance. The events will be organized by the McGill Human Motivation Laboratory and the Black Community Resource Center. Each colloquium will include a research presentation, a presentation by a community group, and an open discussion. The three colloquies will focus on the following topics:

Event 1: Black in Quebec. This presentation and discussion will review 2 years of research by the Black Community Resource Center on the current state of the QESB. 4 thematic areas will be reviewed: Education, Health, Civic Engagement, and Psychosocial well-being. This event will also highlight the BCRC’s role as a knowledge hub for Black communities in Quebec.

Event 2: The impact of the 2020 pandemic. This presentation and discussion will review the findings from 4 longitudinal studies by the McGill Human Motivation Lab and the Black Community Resource Center on how Black young adults were impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

Event 3: The impact of the 2020 BLM movement. This presentation and discussion will review 2 years of research by the MHML and the BCRC on the how the emergence of the BLM marches and protests impacted Black young adults’ recovery from the pandemic.

Conference. The conference will be in-person and hosted at the Black Community Resource Center. The day long conference will focus on the psychological impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the BLM movement on visible minority young adults in Quebec. We will outline how such experiences impacted young people’s level of identification with their racial/ethic/cultural group as well as their effect on personal and group sense of empowerment. Importantly, we will also explore whether the events of the past two years fostered intra-minority solidarity among various visible minority groups based on a recognition that they face the same systemic barriers and risks and that coalition building is a better response than social withdrawal.

An implicit goal of our outreach and events is to promote conversation and collaboration among young adults from different visible minorities to share their experiences and collaborate on how they can work together to change the institutions that perpetuate systemic racism (e.g., police reform, educational reform).

Avec un financement du Gouvernement du Canada

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