Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons has indicated that more people on the Sunshine Coast will develop the skills to address racism and defuse racist incidents as they complete free training offered through a new anti-racism community (ARC) stewards pilot program.
“Reducing and eliminating racism is an important part of strengthening communities,” stated Simons in a media release. “This training will give people the knowledge and skills to further the anti-racism work that is already underway here on the Sunshine Coast, so that more community members can know the best way to combat racism.”
Applications are being accepted until August 11 for this train-the-trainer program, which will provide training to people with a passion for leading anti-racism work in their community. Successful applicants will learn the skills needed to offer anti-racism bystander training and facilitate community dialogues on racism and discrimination in their communities, according to the release. A total of 20 participants from 18 small communities across the province will begin their training in October. Participants will receive an honorarium and have their travel expenses covered.
This pilot project was developed by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, a nonprofit organization that assists people new to Canada, and advances anti-racism initiatives as part of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. Resilience BC is a network of more than 34 organizations that connects local leaders with the information, support and training they need to respond to and prevent future incidents of racism and hate in their communities.
The province has taken further action to tackle racism including: reinstating the BC Human Rights Commission, investigating allegations of racism in BC’s health-care system and developing a comprehensive, multi-year anti-racism action plan for BC’s kindergarten to grade 12 education system.
This spring, a special committee of the legislature released recommendations to reform and modernize the 45-year-old Police Act, with a specific focus on addressing systemic racism. In June, the BC government also enshrined the historic Anti-Racism Data Act into law, and is now working in partnership with Indigenous and black people and people of colour to develop ways to collect voluntary data safely.
For more information about the anti-racism community stewards program, and to apply, go to vircs.bc.ca/lcrcprogram.