Community anti-racism workshops funded for lakecity

The Cariboo Chilcotin Canadian Mental Health Association has received a grant to host community anti-racism workshops in Williams Lake.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Canadian Mental Health Association has received a total of almost $30,000 in government grants in recent months to fight racism.

The first grant announced back in November was for $10,000 to mount an anti-racism media campaign which is scheduled to roll out in mid-February.

On Jan. 21 Victoria announced a second grant of $19,976 for CMHA to host a series of anti-racism workshops this spring.

“We want to ensure all people feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in Williams Lake and across B.C.,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett in announcing the second grant last week. “Through education and workshops, we can help address racism and strengthen our community.”

Margaret-Anne Enders, CMHA’s multicultural program co-ordinator said the local branch is pleased to receive the new grant which will be used to provide experiential anti-racism workshops for local youth, parents, community members, and CMHA staff.

Multiculturalism program team member Marilyn Livingston, said representatives of the PeerNetBC training group will launch the anti-racism education campaign in the spring by conducting a two-day workshop for CMHA staff and community partners titled Facilitating Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Dialogue.

In the three days following this training, CMHA and PeerNetBC staff will co-facilitate six smaller, four-hour workshops, involving up to 50 participants each.

Four workshops will also be offered to Grade 7 students at Lake City Secondary’s  Columneetza campus.

She says the final workshop will be offered to local business owners and leaders. “Our intent is to provide a strong anti-racism message to a diverse group of people in a relatively small time-frame,” Livingston says. “Once PeerNetBC is gone, CMHA Cariboo Chilcotin Branch and its community partners will have the training, tools, and experience to offer future anti-racism workshops and will be well equipped to continue a local education campaign against racism.”

Livingston says anti-racism projects can include community events, works of art, theatre productions and a variety of other forms of community engagement designed to fight racism.

The CMHA Cariboo Chilcotin  is one of 14 B.C.-based organizations that is sharing nearly $263,000 from the provincial government in the latest round of grants to fund local anti-racism projects.