More people in B.C. can apply for free training on how to help defuse racist incidents through a new Anti-Racism Community (ARC) Stewards pilot training program, the first of its kind.
The project was developed and delivered by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, a non-profit organization that assists people new to Canada and advances anti-racism initiatives as part of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network.
Online applications for the program will be accepted until Aug. 11, 2022, and there are 20 spaces available.
Training will educate people with a passion for leading anti-racism work in as many as 16 small B.C. communities. People from the communities listed below are urged by VIRCS to apply:
- Dawson Creek
- Fort St. John
- Powell River/qathet
- Prince Rupert
- Sechelt/ Gibsons
The program goal is that successful applicants will learn the skills needed to offer training on how bystanders can confidently address racist incidents and facilitate community dialogues on racism and discrimination in their communities, the release said.
“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.
Singh shared this is a push forward and anti-racist step to dismantle the systemic barriers that have held Indigenous, Black and people of colour back for generations.
Siobhan Brown, a Resilience BC member in the qathet region said racism and discrimination are injustices that people 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.”
Successful applicants will begin their training in Oct. 2022. Participants will receive an honorarium and travel expenses will be covered by program funding through the Sector Labour Market Partnerships program, which is part of the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement.
“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 the meaningful, supported exploration of systemic racism and its impact on our everyday lives will help us build more resilient, compassionate and equitable communities.”
The program is an important part of the Province’s commitment to dismantling systemic racism and building a better, more inclusive province for everyone, the news release said.
“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,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee.
For more information about the program and to apply visit: https://www.vircs.bc.ca/lcrcprogram