Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan will receive $31,000 in funding to help challenge racism and celebrate diversity. This organization is among 33 community groups throughout British Columbia working to address racism through the B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program.
The communities of Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon are combining their individual grants of approximately $6,000 each and distributing them to Vernon to be used for a program that benefits all five cities.
In total, government is contributing more than $217,000 to organizations like Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan 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.”
Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon – Monashee —
“It is never acceptable to make others feel unwelcomed or ashamed of their race, culture or heritage. I’m so pleased that this program stationed in Vernon will be in operation for all of the communities located in the Okanagan region.”
Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson —
“Educating people about how to spot the signs and effects of racism in our communities is very valuable in maintaining safe and healthy communities. When people work together to strengthen our communities like this everyone feels welcome and that is what makes this province great.”
Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country —
“By combining funds, this $31,000 will go a long way in helping the many communities in the North and South Okanagan. Our region is home to so many diverse groups and we need to make sure this diversity is celebrated.”
Greg Kyllo, MLA for Shuswap —
“British Columbia has always welcomed people from all over the world and encouraged them to be proud of their heritage and culture. Any time this welcoming spirit is challenged by attitudes of racism, these important community groups are there to help support our community and prevent attitudes like this from spreading.”
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton —
“I’m glad that there are groups working on behalf of our community in an effort to stomp out racism. The Okanagan is a beautiful place that should be welcoming to people of all backgrounds, and I’m in full support of the organizations that work to ensure this is a reality.”
- 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