The Thompson Okanagan Respect Network will be using recently announced anti-racism funding to make Okanagan communities safer and more inclusive.
The network is a partnership between organizations located in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops. This year, the network received $35,000 in funding through the B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate program to continue developing anti-racism programming throughout the Okanagan, according to a government press release.
“In building a strong community foundation, the Thompson Okanagan Respect Network has taken the first important step to addressing racism,” said Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism. “I applaud these organizations for joining together and encouraging people and communities to learn about, understand and combat racism.”
The Thompson Okanagan Respect Network’s vision is a region where all community members are welcomed, valued and respected. To achieve this, the network is working together to bring in educational programs, workshops and events focused on promoting the value of diversity and multiculturalism, said the release.
“It’s an honour to work together and bring inspirational speakers, workshops and events to the residents of our region,” said Annette Sharkey, executive director of the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan. “A good example of our work was the ‘Respect Lives Here’ play delivered to middle school students in each community in the network. This couldn’t have been done without community collaboration.”
A total of $224,000 in funding is being distributed to 32 community organizations through the OARH program in 2018. OARH funds connect community anti-racism networks at the local level, which encourages opportunities for collaborative, community-based programs throughout the province. Funded organizations create community engagement activities for outreach, educational opportunities and workshops to challenge racism and barriers to full inclusion, said the release.
British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Act was created in 1993 to recognize the diversity of British Columbians, encourage respect for the province’s multicultural heritage, promote racial harmony and foster a society without barriers to inclusion.