Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives (flickr.com)

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What people are saying about anti-racism data legislation

Kasari Govender, B.C.’s human rights commissioner –

“We‘ve heard loud and clear that approaches to public policy that don’t take into account factors like race, gender and disability only worsen outcomes for marginalized communities. We must collect and use disaggregated data responsibly and in the context of government’s relationship to communities – as we recommended in our report, ‘Disaggregated demographic data collection in British Columbia: The grandmother perspective.’ We can’t have transformative social change unless communities have some control over their own data to limit the chances of it being used to perpetuate divisions or reinforce stigma.”

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs –

“As Indigenous peoples, we know all too well the depth and severity of racism in this province, and the far-reaching impacts it has upon our people in every corner of society and the systems that are supposedly in place to support us. We applaud the work of the Office of the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner in calling on the province to be accountable in tracking and addressing racism in B.C. We look forward to working closely with the Province of B.C. to ensure the experiences and voices of Indigenous and BPOC people shared through these engagements are reflected in any legislative drafts put forward, and that any legislation is aligned with the minimum human rights standards outlined in the UN Declaration.”

Chief Terry Teegee, regional chief, B.C. Association of First Nations –

“I encourage First Nations leaders, community members, friends and allies to come forward and share their opinions and ideas during this engagement process and help shape the development of this new anti-racism act. For too long, First Nations and minority peoples have felt the oppressive weight of health, social and economic systems that enforce inequality and social injustice in British Columbia. Dialogues that include Indigenous experiences and values will be critical components as we all work toward reshaping and transforming our communities and governance with policies and laws that are informed with vastly more racially equitable priorities. It is time to dismantle the racially imposed barriers that have long defined our lived reality and build thriving, healthier, equitable communities.”

Robert Phillips, political executive, First Nations Summit –

“We are pleased to see the provincial government moving forward with this key recommendation of ‘The Grandmother Perspective’ report. The collection of disaggregated data will assist in improved visibility of and accountability to Indigenous citizens, and lead to policy changes and service improvements to engage equity and address oppression and racism faced by our citizens and communities. Honouring Indigenous data sovereignty and governance throughout is a key way in which the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be upheld.”

Queenie Choo, CEO, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation –

“Collaborating with communities in collecting race-based data will help us learn about the gaps and barriers racialized community members face. This information will help inform the creation of more equitable programs and services. It is a step closer in building a more inclusive society in British Columbia.”

June N.P. Francis, co-director, The Co-Laboratorio Project; director, Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement/associate professor, Beedie School of Business SFU; chair, Hogan’s Alley Society –

“For too long, Indigenous, and racialized groups in B.C. have failed to receive equitable access and treatment, compromising their economic and social well-being including discrimination in housing, employment, health, education and access to justice among other inequities. The Province’s plan to implement anti-racism data legislation in response to a cacophony of calls from communities presents a pivotal moment to make visible the operation and impact of institutional and systemic racism so these can be addressed. Reimagining and co-creating data meaning, collection, management and governance to reflect the history, world views and aspirations of Indigenous and racialized communities is essential. I encourage all racialized communities to actively participate to ensure that data legislation serves its purpose, to provide the understanding and insights to begin to create a truly equitable society.”