NDP MLAs say multiculturalism grants will help fight racism in Nanaimo

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NANAIMO – New Democrat MLAs Sheila Malcolmson, Adam Walker and Doug Routley say multiculturalism grant funding will help local organizations in Nanaimo and Lantzville fight systemic racism. This year, priority was given to projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian, and anti-Black racism.

“Racism, hatred, and discrimination are deeply-rooted issues worldwide, and unfortunately British Columbia is no exception,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “I’m grateful to these Nanaimo organizations working to make our neighbours feel safe, welcome, and respected in our community.”

Multiculturalism grant funding is provided to non-profit and charitable organizations for projects that build intercultural interaction, trust and understanding, or challenge racism, hate and systemic barriers. MLA Malcolmson said that through these projects, people across B.C. will soon have improved access to tools and resources that will help them learn about the diverse culture in which they live.

In Nanaimo, the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society is receiving $5,000 for their Anti-Racism Art Festival: Building a Foundation for Change. The Nanaimo Literacy Association is receiving $5,000 for PLACE, a publication representing diverse youth voices of the Central Vancouver Island Region. The Nanaimo Pride Society is receiving $5,000 for Alphabet Soup, a project to provide wholistic supports to LGBTQ2S+ youth. Based in Lantzville, the Pacific Coast Stage Company is receiving $5,000 for the Forum Theatre with Nanaimo’s Newcomers, a project that culminates with a presentation at the Nanaimo Fringe Festival.

“Our government is supporting local organizations that build inclusive communities,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville – Qualicum. “I’m so glad we are making funding available for groups in our region to bring people together and continue the hard work of addressing discrimination and dismantling racism at the local level.

For 2020/21, the Province is providing a $944,000 one-time boost to the grant funding as part of anti-racism initiatives through Stronger BC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

This grant program is just one way the BC New Democrat government province is working to subvert systemic racism and protect human rights. The province has taken further action to tackle racism including: reinstating the B.C. Human Rights Commission after it was dismantled by the former BC Liberal government, launching an investigation into allegations of racism in B.C.’s health-care system, and developing a comprehensive, multi-year anti-racism action plan for B.C.’s K-12 education system. A special committee of the legislature is currently undertaking a review of the 45-year-old Police Act, with a specific focus on modernizing the Act and addressing systemic racism. The BC New Democrat government is also committed to introducing a new anti-racism act and legislation on race-based data collection.