BC multicultural communities are benefiting from nearly $1.3 million to support projects that will celebrate diversity, address racism and help build inclusive communities.

Thirty-four organizations throughout the province are receiving funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism’s Arts Engagement and Interfaith Bridging programs. The programs award up to $35,000 to each successful applicant.

The Arts Engagement program uses artistic expression as a way of connecting people. The funding supports a large range of projects that aim to bring diverse groups together through a wide range of artistic mediums – from performance arts to oral storytelling – to promote multiculturalism and challenge racism.

B.C. is the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide funding specifically focused on faith and spiritual diversity. Projects under the Interfaith Bridging program help to build relationships between diverse established faith communities and provide links to increase understanding where elements of each community intersect with others.

In addition to these two strands of funding, the ministry has also just released nearly $300,000 in multiculturalism grants to 126 organizations to raise awareness and strengthen the capacity of multicultural organizations to promote and enhance B.C.’s multicultural identity.

Yap announced the funding while visiting the innovative Multiculturalism Week art installation in Vancouver’s Robson Square. It features a maple tree that members of the public are dressing with paper leaves and messages of how they ‘live multiculturalism’.