B.C. invests in community organizations to challenge racism
Cranbrook and Fernie groups in on funding program
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 provincial 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, a Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture press release stated.
Two of those organizations are located in the East Kootenay: Cranbrook’s East Kootenay Organization for Human Dignity and Equality and Fernie’s Elk Valley Métis Association.
“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 behaviour,” 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.
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.
Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.