The social impact sector is “a microcosm of social exclusion,” says this founder

Candies Kotchapaw on inclusion and systemic racism

Why It Matters

With Black Lives Matter ushering in new momentum for racial justice, community builder Candies Kotchapaw says the non-profit sector requires an overhaul in leadership. In Canada, more than half of charities and non-profits do not gather data on employee diversity, according to a 2018 study. In order to truly serve marginalized Canadians, non-profits must prioritize racial diversity, particularly in management, says Kotchapaw.

At age 14, Candies Kotchapaw immigrated from Jamaica to Canada and enrolled in high school — upon arrival, her new school required her to take an English language test. Though she didn’t have any academic challenges, the school encouraged her to take applied courses. 

Entering the applied stream made Kotchapaw believe that she would not achieve academic or professional success in the future. “For me, college and university definitely wasn’t something that I saw myself being able to do. It seemed like an unrealistic possibility,” Kotchapaw, now the founder of an organization called Developing Young Leaders of Tomorrow Today (DYLOTT), shares. While she pursued college at her mother’s insistence, she struggled, feeling like she didn’t have a purpose. 

According to Kotchapaw, systemic barriers such as academic streaming — a practice where Grade 9 stude

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