Five organizations across the North Island are receiving a total of $35,000 in funding to help challenge racism and celebrate diversity. They are among 33 community groups throughout British Columbia working to address racism through the B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program, and they include:
- Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association of North Vancouver Island ($7000)
- The Community Justice Centre of the Comox Valley Society ($7000)
- Cowichan Intercultural and Immigrant Aid Society ($7000)
- Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society ($7000)
- Port Alberni Friendship Centre ($7000)
In total, government is contributing more than $217,000 to organizations such as these that have especially strong connections to their communities.
Funding recipients have the power to engage and unite British Columbians under one common goal: to address racism in B.C. communities, one unique project at a time. Communities can use their funding for outreach, educational opportunities, workshops and anti-racism community events.
This year, the OARH network will also expand to include anti-racism networks in four additional B.C. communities: Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey. This move will allow OARH to focus its anti-racism lens on both rural and urban communities.
The most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants every year. 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.
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism —
“Anti-racism funding empowers small communities throughout the province to work together to challenge racism and create positive change. By embracing multiculturalism and fostering respect and inclusion, we can ensure British Columbia’s rich, cultural mosaic continues to thrive for future generations.”
Michelle Stilwell,Parksville-Qualicum MLA —
“Everyone wants to feel welcome and appreciated in their own community. It is this kind of society that encourages diversity and makes our province one of the most desirable places to live in the world.”
Don McRae, Comox Valley MLA —
“The Comox Valley is a highly inclusive community where people are free to follow their traditions and heritage. This funding will help ensure future generations enjoy the same opportunities.”
- Communities benefiting from OARH funding in 2016 include: 100 Mile House, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Burns Lake, Campbell River, Comox Valley/ Courtenay, 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, Shuswap/Salmon Arm, Smithers, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Vanderhoof, Vernon and Williams Lake.
- All funding proposals are evaluated based on established criteria by Ministry of Multiculturalism staff. Approved proposals passed evaluation criteria to a high standard.
- In 2016-17, the B.C. government will provide over $1.6 million in multiculturalism funding to engage cultural and community groups, fight racism, and promote multiculturalism.
- Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy.
- Nearly 30% of British Columbians are immigrants.
- In B.C., the third week of November is proclaimed Multiculturalism Week. This year it takes place Nov. 13-19, 2016.
- The 2016 British Columbia Multicultural Awards to honour B.C.’s multicultural champions will be held Nov. 18, 2016, in Vancouver.
For more information about OARH, visit: http://ow.ly/WyBh301JACZ
For more information about the British Columbia Multicultural Awards and eligibility requirements, visit: http://ow.ly/Wp2Q301JAIt