Like many people in the non-profit sector we came into this hoping to make an impact on the Jane and Finch community, a community about which we did not realize we held many unexamined beliefs.
As we faced challenges, shortcomings, and failures, it became clear that before we engaged in this kind of work we needed to first engage in a meaningful process of challenging our own motives, on educating ourselves about the history of Jane and Finch, and on creating meaningful systems of accountability. We realized that perhaps it would be more useful to re-imagine a more ethical relationship between Jane and Finch and York University.
The result was the creation of a checklist for York students interested in doing work in Jane and Finch. It was designed to invite researchers to examine their motives, to learn the history of the community, and to commit to processes of accountability.
Ultimately our greatest impact ended up not being on the Jane and Finch community but on our own community here at York. We hope our checklist gives York students the ability to reflect on how to make the most meaningful use of their power and privilege. We hope our impact was in offering this humble addition to what will, with any luck, be a long journey toward a non-extractive community engagement.
Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design