In mid-July, the home of an Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was vandalized, with images including swastikas spray-painted on the house. Since that time, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot has been calling for community conversations about issues relating to race. (Summerland Review file photo)

Provincial funds available for Summerland conversations about racism

Money will not flow directly from province to municipality

Provincial funding is available for the municipality of Summerland to have a conversation about racism in the community, but the money will not pass directly from the province to the municipality.

In August, following racists incidents within the community, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot said she was working to have a community conversation about issues related to race.

“We need to address this as a community. It’s absolutely critical that we have a safe place to talk about this,” she said.

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The idea for the conversation came in mid-July after the home of an Indo-Canadian family was vandalized and graffiti, including swastikas, was left on the wall.

Days later, a Confederate battle flag, an image often displayed as a symbol of white supremacy, was displayed during a parade in support of the family. Boot said the flag was a bandana which had been purchased in Summerland.

Summerland council has contacted the province, requesting funding to hold conversations about race issues.

A letter from the provincial Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, dated Nov. 6, stated that additional funding of $7,500 has been awarded to the North Okanagan Social Planning Society, which coordinates the province’s Resilience B.C Anti-Racism Network, to support the new initiatives in Summerland.

The North Okanagan Social Planning Society will work with South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services on these initiatives.

Karen Needham, acting administrator for Summerland, said the work on the racism conversations for Summerland has started, but the conversation meetings likely will not happen until some time in 2021.

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