Racialized people can now share their perspectives in culturally safe spaces as 68 organizations across B.C. receive more than $300,000 to engage community members on the development of new anti-racism legislation.
“Too many people in B.C. experience systemic racism every day,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “Part of how we will become an anti-racist society is by centring the lived experiences of those who have been marginalized by the harms of racism when we try to address it. These grants will give front-line organizations the opportunity to amplify the voices of the communities that will be most affected by our new anti-racism legislation.”
Government is asking for input from members of racialized communities, as well as racialized people from faith-based and 2SLGTBQIA+ communities, to ensure upcoming anti-racism legislation will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Local community-led engagement sessions will be culturally appropriate, safe and responsive to the needs of each community.
“This grant will be a catalyst for positive change within the Black community,” said Brian Seremba of the BC Community Alliance. “It will help us create safe spaces for open dialogue, amplify Black voices and foster a more inclusive and equitable future for our community.”
More than 100 organizations from across B.C. applied for grants and 68 applications have been approved. The maximum grant amount is $5,000 and government has allocated $308,000 to be divided between the successful organizations. Engagements will run between July and the end of September 2023.
The grant recipient organizations provide anti-racism awareness and education, resilience training for those who have experienced racism, and social services and supports for newcomers, as well as promoting diversity through arts and culture.
“Our community-led engagement celebrates Deaf culture and American sign language (ASL), fostering inclusivity and dialogue,” said Vinu Abraham Chetipurackal of the Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf. “With a secondary intersection of being Deaf, we look forward to the opportunity to acknowledge the diversity in the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community and to helping make sure their perspectives are heard and respected.”
The Anti-Racism Act, which will be introduced in 2024, is being co-developed with Indigenous Peoples and government has separately provided over $450,000 to First Nations and Métis partners to facilitate the distinctions-based co-development process.
All British Columbians are invited to share how they think government should address systemic racism by completing the anti-racism questionnaire by Sept. 30, 2023. It is available online in 15 languages.
Niki Sharma, Attorney General –
“I want Indigenous and racialized people to know that we’re listening, and together we can work to address systemic racism. These community-led engagement sessions are part of the co-development model we are using to ensure that future government services are delivered fairly and equitably to all British Columbians.”
Lali Pawa, South Asian Legal Clinic of BC –
“We have already launched our outreach and awareness campaign for the anti-racism questionnaire. I am encouraging all South Asians across the province to participate in this survey and help the government improve programs and services. We ensure a safe and supported space where honest and open conversations can take place. No one should be left out and left behind.”
- The Province launched the anti-racism questionnaire on June 5, 2023, to collect input into the development of new anti-racism legislation to be introduced in 2024. It’s open for responses until Sept. 30, 2023.
- The questionnaire is available in 15 languages and takes seven to 12 minutes to complete.
To complete the questionnaire, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism/
A backgrounder follows.