Two unique B.C. programs were honoured at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation Awards of Excellence in Halifax last week for their work in promoting multiculturalism and challenging racism.
The B.C. Hate Crimes Team (BCHCT) is the only provincial program of its kind in Canada. It was recognized for its outstanding work in challenging racism and hate crimes through the creation of a more collaborative and integrated approach, which draws on the skills, experience and best practices of experts from legal services, policing agencies, victim services, community development and engagement workers, and anti-racism educators.
Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) is an example of this collaborative approach in action. OARH is a three-year and three-step community development process administered by EmbraceBC that aims to help communities develop community capacity and skills, foster community engagement and build community action and sustainability plans to address racism and hate. It also supports outreach to local police and helps build relationships and networks between communities and the BCHCT.
The Safe Harbour: Respect for All program received an honourable mention for its active, community-based stance against racism. It is active in 887 locations throughout B.C. and provides resources and training for communities, businesses and agencies to understand the needs of newcomers and multicultural community members and provides a network of safe, inclusive locations for people of all cultures.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation, Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism -
"Our government is committed to nurturing the many diverse communities that makes B.C. unique. These award-winning programs underscore that commitment and I applaud the hard work of everyone involved in promoting multiculturalism and challenging racism wherever it appears."
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"I am proud that British Columbia's innovative programs are being recognized on a national level and that we continue to be leaders in countering racism. Congratulations to the teams, who, through their hard work and commitment, are fostering a climate of tolerance and acceptance."
Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens, Commanding Officer, B.C. RCMP -
"This award acknowledges the commitment and hard work of the RCMP, the New Westminster Police Service and all law enforcement agencies in combating hate- and bias- motivated crimes in B.C. I congratulate the Hate Crimes Team and I would also like to thank all the citizens in their continuing effort to combat hate and racism in B.C."
Lynn Moran, Executive Director, AMSSA -
"AMSSA is pleased with the recognition awarded by CRRF of Honourable Mention in the community category for Safe Harbour: Respect for All, a longstanding program focused on working together with non-profit organizations, businesses and municipalities to build inclusive, welcoming workplace and communities. Combating racism requires a collective effort, one that the Safe Harbour: Respect for All program enhances through interactive training, resources and dialogue."
- The B.C. Hate Crimes Team was created in 1997 to make B.C. communities safe from hate and bias by creating community partnerships, promoting acceptance and respect and identifying and investigating crimes motivated by hate and bias.
- More than 65 per cent of the communities, which have completed all three steps of Organizing Against Racism and Hate, have carried out projects in other EmbraceBC program areas such as Arts Engagement, Interfaith Bridging and Community Engagement and Dialogues.
- The Safe Harbour: Respect for All program is delivered by AMSSA, a provincewide association of member agencies supporting diversity throughout the province.
- The B.C. government's EmbraceBC program provides resources and tools that help citizens of British Columbia further understand the importance of diversity and increase their level of community engagement around multiculturalism and anti-racism. Since its launch in 2009, it has funded over 85 projects, engaging more than 12,000 participants in British Columbia and has provided almost $5 million in funding since it was launched.
- The Canadian Race Relations Foundation's Award of Excellence is a biennial program that recognizes public, private or voluntary organizations whose efforts represent excellence and innovation in combating racism in Canada.
B.C. Hate Crimes Team: http://www.embracebc.ca/local/embracebc/pdf/end_hate_crime.pdf
Organizing Against Racism and Hate: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/funding/organizing/index.page
Safe Harbour: Respect for All:
Canadian Race Relations Foundation: http://www.crr.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism