New training program empowers people to address racism

August 4, 2022 at 9:42 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More people throughout B.C. will receive free training on how to help defuse racist incidents through a new Anti-Racism Community (ARC) Stewards pilot program.

Applications are being accepted for the “train the trainer” program, which will educate people with a passion for leading anti-racism work in as many as 15 small communities. Successful applicants will learn the skills needed to offer training on how bystanders can address racist incidents and facilitate community dialogues on racism and discrimination in their communities.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in racist incidents in large and small communities throughout our province. We can’t stand by and allow this kind of hate to proliferate. We all have a role to play in confronting racism in our families and communities,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “This training will give people the skills and confidence they need to carry out anti-racism work and train others in their communities as we push forward to dismantle the systemic barriers that have held Indigenous, Black and people of colour back for generations.”

The pilot project is the first anti-racism training of its kind. It is developed and delivered by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS), a non-profit 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 incidents of racism and hate in their communities.

“We are all responsible for creating safety in our communities,” said Siobhan Brown, Resilience BC member in the qathet region. “Racism and discrimination are injustices that we have the power to address. This training will build our capacity to do just that by combining core lessons with the unique needs of each rural community, so we can create a response that fits.”

People from the following communities are encouraged to apply:

  • Cranbrook
  • Dawson Creek
  • Fort St. John
  • Houston
  • Kitimat
  • Nelson
  • Penticton
  • Powell River/qathet
  • Prince Rupert
  • Revelstoke
  • Sechelt/ Gibsons
  • Shuswap
  • Smithers
  • Terrace
  • Vanderhoof
  • Vernon

“You can’t ignore racism and hope it goes away. This program will give people the tools they need to train community members on how to address racism incidents and make positive changes in their communities,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee.  “By providing more people with the skills and knowledge to dismantle systemic racism in their communities, we can build a better, anti-racist B.C. for everyone.”

Online applications will be accepted until Aug. 11, 2022. Twenty spaces are available in the program. Successful applicants will begin their training in October 2022. Participants will receive an honourarium and travel expenses will be covered.

“Traditional diversity and inclusion trainings have failed to create the sustainable change required to address systemic inequities,” said Karen Hira, executive director, VIRCS. “Investing in meaningful, supported exploration of systemic racism and its impact on our everyday lives will help us build more resilient, compassionate and equitable communities.”

VIRCS receives funding support for the ARC Stewards program and other anti-racism training initiatives through the Sector Labour Market Partnerships program, which is part of the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement.

The program is an important part of the Province’s commitment to dismantle systemic racism and build a better, more inclusive province for everyone.

Learn More:

For more information about the program and to apply, visit: https://www.vircs.bc.ca/lcrcprogram

For more information about Resilience BC, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism/anti-racism/resiliencebc

For more information about provincial anti-racism initiatives, visit: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism

For more information about the Sector Labour Market Partnerships program, visit: https://www.workbc.ca/labour-market-industry/sector-labour-market-partnerships-program.aspx

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