Coalition for Change Niagara is a coalition of community members and organizations from different sectors including social services, healthcare, education, charities and public service. The primary objective of the coalition is to establish a platform of individuals and organizations interested in sharing experiences, good practices, knowledge and expertise to improve policies and programs to fight all forms of discrimination, racism, and intolerance. The coalition leverages the expertise and resources of its partners to strategically deliver a variety of initiatives geared towards supporting education, advocacy, research and institutional change.

The Coalition also promotes inclusion and diversity in rapidly changing communities, and encourages them to foster human rights values, racial and gender equality, mutual understanding and social cohesion. It also supports communities that face significant disparities in access to educational, social, economic and political opportunities, with a special focus on Black women & youth, persons living with HIV/AIDS, migrants, refugees, indigenous people and persons living with disabilities. The coalition seeks to address racism and discrimination through a number of strategies, one of which is advocating for investments in critical programs that address the root causes of racism and discrimination.

In light of the recent protests in the US, Canada, and around the world, as well as the growth of a significant number of Canadians calling for systemic change in our institutions, the coalition has been focusing on the issue of systemic racism and discrimination within our schools. We advocate for schools to adopt a zero-discrimination policy. This stance will serve to create a safe environment within our education system where every child, especially racialized children, is properly educated and provided with adequate support for their mental and physical well-being throughout their formative years. To achieve this outcome, one of the Coalition for Change’s strategies is partnering and collaborating with school boards on providing assistance with ARAO training, development of curriculum content, activities and resources that serve to educate teachers, parents and students on anti-black racism, equity and inclusion. We firmly believe that by deconstructing all forms of racism and actively teaching anti-racism practices in our schools, that our children and the society at large will truly embrace its diversity.

The Coalition for Change has drafted an action plan composed of commitments covering various areas of competences such as education, health, housing, employment and cultural activities. It proposes examples of practical policies, training and programs for relevant authorities to enhance or develop with objectives of inclusion and non-discrimination that defend the rights of all minorities. While emphasizing the importance of intersectionality, the coalition focuses on highlighting racial equality, Anti Black racism and youth participation as pillars in its action plan, as well as encouraging collaboration between the different sectors of stakeholders including civil society.

The Coalition for Change is co-chaired by Dr. Pamela Kapend and Dr. Natalie Apparicio-Farrell.

Dr. Pamela Kapend is a graduate of the McMaster Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Having specialized in Family and  Emergency Medicine, she currently  practices as an Emergency Physician within the Niagara Health System. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster School of Medicine.  Her interests include health promotion and disease prevention in vulnerable populations and advocacy. She is actively involved in a number of community initiatives such as the Migrant and foreign workers’ clinic and REACH Niagara which provides care for the homeless population. Her desire to see radical change in the education system regarding discrimination and anti-racism led to the creation of Coalition for Change.

Dr. Kapend is a mother of two boys, a wife and an avid cyclist who enjoys spending time with family and friends around food and good conversations.

Dr. Natalie Apparicio-Farrell is an Investment Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities. She leverages her expertise as a physician and former business owner along with the vast resources at her disposal to provide transparent, comprehensive wealth management solutions for healthcare professionals and women business owners in Niagara area. Dr. Apparicio-Farrell obtained her medical degree in 2005 at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, and has over eight years’ experience in the healthcare industry. As a firm believer in continuing education, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), with an additional focus on healthcare administration.

She remains connected to healthcare by participating in medical mission trips to provide care for underserved communities in developing countries. She also provides free financial literacy programs to the black community to enable sound financial decision making and effective management of personal finance which helps to improve the well-being of the black community.

She is a wife and mother of three wonderful kids. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading and outdoor fun with her family.