North Shore Multicultural Society to host anti-racism town hall

The North Shore Multicultural Society is taking a stand against homegrown racism with a virtual town hall.

The event, which runs on Sept. 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is slated to include an expert panel as well as a question-and-answer session with online attendees.

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“The North Shore has a long history of racism and discrimination, similar to many other cities and municipalities,” said Andisheh Fard, manager of the Centre for Diversity & Innovation. “This came about because we really need to eradicate racism from our communities.”

North Vancouver was once home to St. Paul’s Indian Residential School. Various neighbourhoods were developed with covenants prohibiting racialized people from buying homes. More recently, the multicultural society has warned of an uptick in reported incidents, including racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic graffiti, as well as anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism in public places as well anti-Chinese racism tied to COVID-19, Fard noted.

A 2017 survey by the multicultural society found 61 per cent of participants had heard people saying things that sounded racist or discriminatory. Another 38 per cent said they worried about being harmed or treated badly because of their ethnic, cultural, racial or religious background.

The panel, which includes Senator Mobina Jaffer, athlete and educator Valerie Jerome, Reconciliation Canada program director Charlene Seward, and Ismaël Traoré, collaboration laboratory leader at UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning, will focus on understanding racism, decolonization and how to achieve racial equity.

The hope is that residents and community leaders will take part in the town hall and come away more informed and committed to action, Fard said, including support for a North Shore Racial Equity Strategy.

“To make systemic change, we believe that everyone in the community needs to be involved,” she said. “And this is why we're creating this opportunity for all people who are connected to the North Shore, whether they live or work on the North Shore, to come together to hear about how we can move forward.”

The town hall is one of a series of events hosted by the Centre for Diversity and Innovation and the North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership.

To register the event, visit eventbrite.com/e/virtual-town-hall-meeting-lets-talk-about-achieving-racial-equity-tickets-121111141685

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