Province invests in B.C. community organizations to challenge racism

PEOPLE throughout British Columbia will be better equipped to challenge racism, hate and discrimination in their communities as a result of funding to 32 community organizations, announced today by Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism.

The organizations will benefit from $224,000 in funding through the B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program. OARH funding is available to help communities address incidents of racism, hate and discrimination. As the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C.’s rich multicultural society helps to nurture inclusiveness, understanding and respect.

“We want people to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in British Columbia,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This funding will help communities develop an understanding of the skills and programming necessary to address racism throughout B.C.”

OARH funds connect community anti-racism networks at the local level, encouraging opportunities for collaborative, community-based programs throughout the province. Funded organizations create community-engagement activities for outreach, educational opportunities and workshops to challenge racism and barriers to full inclusion.

“These programs teach people about racism and how to prevent racist behavior,” said Kahlon. “I am pleased to announce that over the coming year, our government will be developing a multiculturalism strategy, a key component of which will be a focus on anti-racism.”

British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Act was created in 1993 to recognize the diversity of British Columbians, encourage respect for the province’s multicultural heritage, promote racial harmony and foster a society without barriers to inclusion.

OARH funding supports a variety of community anti-racism projects, including:

* The Prince George Immigrant and Multicultural Service Society project to establish a series of dialogues for community partners, service providers, public institutions and youth that focus on the power dynamics of racism.

* The Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre project that partners with local Indigenous groups, school districts, immigrant settlement services and RCMP to host a series of dinners to engage youth about refugees and newcomers, as well as how to proactively dispel misinformation and stereotyping.

* The Port Alberni Friendship Centre’s “Divided We Fall” film project, which focuses on the subtleties of racism. Youth and young adults from various cultures will present aspects of common language use and assumptions that are hurtful, yet go unnoticed or unchecked by the mainstream community.

Established OARH communities benefiting from funding in 2018 include 100 Mile House, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Campbell River, Courtenay/Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley/Duncan, Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Fernie, Fort St. James, Hope, Houston, Kamloops, Kelowna, Kitimat, Nanaimo, Penticton, Port Alberni, Powell River, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke, Richmond, Salmon Arm (Shuswap), Smithers, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Vanderhoof, Vernon and Williams Lake.

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