I recently met with a group of young Ghanaian men and women in the GTA to discuss
ways we can make a positive impact in the Ghanaian-Canadian community. Coming out of the
meeting, I realized the vast potential that, as a community, we possess. Many of our young
people are in top academic institutions across the country, and others are in positions of power
and influence. What I also realized, however, is that much of that potential is not being tapped
into for our collective improvement. What I mean is that the individual successes have yet to
translate fully into communal success. Even so, I am heartened by the belief that if our young
men and women come together in an effort to tackle some of the problems confronting our
community â€“ especially those facing our younger youth â€“ we will see incredible results.
Be it mentoring, educating, or acting as positive role models for the younger generation
of Ghanaian youth, our young men and men have to play a central role if our community is to
progress. This group is uniquely positioned to spearhead our upward mobility and to bridge the
apparent disconnect between our elders and younger siblings. Just as surely, we are uniquely
positioned to be of most influence to the younger youth. Many of us have had the privilege of
spending part of our early years in Ghana, and so we tend to relate easier to the older
generation than do the younger youth. Equally important, we are better able to relate to the
younger youth than can the older generation.
In my experience, I have learned that a large number of our youth who fall through the
cracks of the system lack the resources they need in order to succeed and become productive
members of society. Some lack positive role models to whom they can consult for advice and
direction. Others do not have access to programs and services that they need. Whatever the
case may be, unless these issues are addressed, the inevitable outcome is that our youth will
continue to follow this same negative path.
With the problems facing our youth today, and the unique capability of the older youth
to make a positive impact, it is time that we come together to confront this challenge. Because
we occupy a uniquely significant position in the community, the responsibility lies with us to
help tackle these issues. Every challenge is a call to empowerment, an opportunity to build
relationships, and an occasion to realize our better selves. This is a pressing challenge for our
generation. It is our moment to step up, embrace this responsibility, and assume the mantle as
vanguards of the evolving Ghanaian-Canadian community.
By: Kwaku Boateng (York University)