On March 20th community came together to mark the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This was a day dedicated to learning and information sharing with which we can all continue the work of building more inclusive and equitable society were everyone is valued and respected.
Elder Deborah Baker from the Squamish Nation started us out in a good way reminding all present that we were in this together. Elder Colleen Pierre from Katzie First Nation showed us that speaking out and standing up is how she supports children and all members of her community and called on us to do the same.
We also heard from Dr. Samir Traoré who highlighted the progress made in Equity Diversity and Inclusion at post-secondary institutions over the last 10 years but also let shed light on how much more has to be done including properly resourcing EDI offices and bringing in racialized and equity deserving groups to executive level and governance boards.
The Theatre of the Oppressed session was not only thought-provoking and but insightful as newcomers created and acted their scenes which reflected their experiences with racism, we were invited to witness and act as we thought about what needed to be done to make employment for newcomers more inclusive and dismantle barriers to work commensurate to their education and experience.
The inspiring Youth Panel showed us how their work with indigenous, refugee and newcomer youth was opening up space for dialogue and belonging. They called for more inclusion of youth voices in decision making and highlighted the importance of mentorship and access to support through technology and challenged us to bring a youth to future events. Much gratitude and respect to Samantha Jack, Amina Osman, Sean Celi and Dacious Richardson for sharing their powerful stories.
Surrey LIP team is looking forward to learning more from the community through their ideas and suggestions for combating racism during the breakout sessions. Many thanks to our partners during this event and to Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table for their generous lead for this event.
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