Fourteen organizations throughout the province are each receiving at least $10,000 and up to $50,000 to support the work they do to help stamp out racism in B.C.
The organizations, representing 24 communities, participate in B.C.’s Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program and can use the funding for activities that connect community networks in their common goal of eradicating racism and discrimination. This includes local outreach, educational events, workshops and community engagements addressing racism.
The Ministry Responsible for Multiculturalism announced the names of the organizations sharing the $240,000 fund following B.C.’s Multiculturalism Week, Nov. 15-21, 2015.
Communities benefitting from funding this year include: Smithers, Vanderhoof, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Revelstoke, Williams Lake, Powell River, Cranbrook, Fernie, Dawson Creek, Burns Lake, Prince George, Comox Valley, Campbell River, Lower Sunshine Coast, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Duncan, Fort St. James, Abbotsford and Langley.
“Cultural diversity is vital to a strong and vibrant social and economic future for B.C., and acts of racism threaten that future,” said Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism. “Organizations like these funding recipients know the most effective ways to combat racism in their communities and I thank them for bringing the message of inclusivity to life throughout B.C.”
The OARH program helps communities address racism and create a long-term plan to eradicate violence, discrimination and hate in their communities. A key principle of this program is that all activities need to be developed using a collaborative community-based process. The result is that many communities combine efforts at a regional level to get the most out of their funding.
For example, the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre network, spanning Comox, Campbell River, Lower Sunshine Coast, Nanaimo and Port Alberni, has been awarded $50,000 to provide training programs and workshops to communities and support regional anti-racism film festivals. It will also mentor emerging new OARH groups in its own region as well as Port Hardy and Ucluelet.
“As the regional network on Vancouver Island, the funding received this year will support collaborative, educational projects addressing the serious issues of racism, homophobia and hatred. We help bring young people to an awareness of these issues and provide training to support their work to combat them in their own communities,” said Bruce Curtis, lead agency chief administrator, Vancouver Island Region – Organizing Against Racism & Hate Network. “This support helps break down the many subtle, but still damaging, forms racism can take, and we are extremely proud of the positive impact our network has already had on Vancouver Island.”
By funding these partnerships, along with supporting community engagement and multiculturalism, government helps strengthen communities and celebrates the diversity that sets B.C. apart.
The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Act was created in 1993 to recognize the diversity of British Columbians; encourage respect for our multicultural heritage; promote racial harmony; and foster a society without barriers to inclusion.”