FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Northern Lights College is one of 68 organizations across the province provided with funding to engage community members in developing 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 centering 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.”
The Ministry of the Attorney General said the government is asking for input from members of racialized communities, including racialized people from faith-based and 2SLGTBQIA+ communities, so the upcoming anti-racism legislation can make a difference in their lives.
According to the oxford dictionary, racialize means to categorize or divide according to race.
The local, community-led engagement sessions run through this funding 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.”
The ministry said over 100 organizations applied for the grants, and 68 were approved.
The maximum grant amount is $5,000, and the government has budgeted $308,000 to be divided between the approved organizations.
Engagements will run until the end of September.
The organizations receiving the grants will provide anti-racism awareness and education, resilience training for those who have experienced racism, as well as social services and support for newcomers. They will also promote diversity through arts and culture.
The Anti-Racism Act, which the B.C. government will introduce in 2024, is being co-developed with Indigenous Peoples.
All British Columbia residents are invited to share how they think the provincial government should address systemic racism by completing the anti-racism questionnaire, available in 15 languages, by September 30th.