A local effort to stem racism received top honours in Vancouver Friday night at the seventh annual British Columbia Multicultural Awards.
The Williams Lake Tribune was named the 2016 Business Award recipient and one of five “multicultural champions” at the Nov. 18 gala for the Dirty Laundry Campaign, an anti-racism media strategy directed at challenging stereotypes and raising cultural awareness.
The campaign, which was a collaborative effort between the Tribune and Canadian Mental Health Association – Cariboo Chilcotin branch (CMHACC), depicted residents who have experienced racism wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a variety of slogans including “I was not expected to succeed” and “Racism stops with me.”
On hand to accept the award in the Pacific Ballroom at the Fairmount Hotel Vancouver was Margaret-Anne Enders, multicultural coordinator for the CMHACC, Williams Lake Tribune publisher Kathy McLean and Tribune editor Angie Mindus.
“What an honour it is to be awarded business champion for the Dirty Laundry campaign,” said McLean. “We will continue in our quest to unite all our diverse cultures together to help make Williams Lake a strong and healthy community. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of my staff and those at the CMHACC for making this award possible.”
Enders said she was thrilled that the campaign achieved such high recognition and looks forward to partnering with the Tribune on future projects.
“People need to realize that for a community to thrive, everyone has to feel valued. That’s why multiculturalism is so important. If you are open, willing to learn, and take the time to build those relationships and listen to the voices of the diverse people in your community, you will discover a new richness and a common ground. I promise, it’s more than worth your time,” she said.
Mindus said she was proud to be one of the many individuals and organizations who were recognized by the B.C. government for their work in promoting multiculturalism.
“The atmosphere at the awards ceremonies, and the encouraging words spoken by Minister Watt and others in attendance were very uplifting and inspiring. I have always believed we can all play a role in making a positive impact in our community. As individuals, community leaders, businesses, teachers and parents – we should embrace and value one another’s differences, not be fearful of them. There is no place for racism in our communities.”
In attendance at the ceremonies, Minister Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism, encouraged all nominees to continue their good work.
“I am honoured to congratulate the recipients and nominees of this year’s British Columbia Multicultural Awards. The passion and commitment demonstrated by these exceptional British Columbians promotes cross-cultural understanding, respect, and inclusion in our workplaces and in communities in every corner of the province.”
Government received a total of 146 nominations for awards in five categories: individual, organization, business, youth and multicultural excellence in government. Nominees selected for an award were chosen by a panel of judges with expertise in multiculturalism and anti-racism.
“Each British Columbia Multicultural Award nominee is a role model in their respective field and we can all learn from their achievements,” said Tenzin Khangsar, multicultural advisory council. “I hope that this recognition spurs others throughout B.C. to look for creative and innovative ways to become multicultural champions in their own communities.”
This year’s award recipients used the arts to break down barriers and unite communities. They partnered with dozens of organizations throughout the province to allow children and youth to develop an understanding of the importance of multiculturalism, respect for diversity, acceptance and inclusion and built meaningful opportunities for immigrant newcomers to fully participate in all aspects of British Columbia society.
The 2016 British Columbia Multicultural Award recipients are:
• Individual: Paulina Grainger
• Organization: Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education
• Business: Williams Lake Tribune
• Youth: Chitha Manoranjan
• Government: BC Housing
All award recipients received a trophy and those selected in the first four categories noted above also received $5,000 to be donated to a non-profit organization of their choice to further support the work of multiculturalism in the province.
The Williams Lake Tribune selected the CMHACC as its $5,000 recipient.
The event is organized by the Government of British Columbia with advice and support from the Province’s Multicultural Advisory Council (MAC).
Since 1988, B.C.’s Multicultural Advisory Council has promoted cross-cultural understanding and respect throughout the province.
Every year, B.C. welcomes nearly 40,000 new immigrants.
• Almost 30 per cent of British Columbians have emigrated from another country in their lifetime and one-quarter of the people in the province are self-identified visible minorities.
• In 2015, the B.C. government provided nearly $1.7 million to engage cultural groups, to fight racism and discrimination and to promote multiculturalism.
2016 British Columbia Multicultural Awards recipients
Individual Award: Paulina Grainger
Grainger is an arts administrator, actor-producer and a storyteller who creates innovative projects that use film, photography, movement, storytelling, theatre and mask work to bring the immigrant and refugee experience to life. Currently with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, she is committed to telling the stories of newcomers while continuing to challenge and deepen the community’s learning and understanding of diversity and multiculturalism in Canada.
Award Donation: Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria
Funds will be directed toward innovative youth arts-based programs at the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria.
Organization Award: Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education
Equitas partners with over 80 B.C. community organizations, municipalities, schools and public institutions in 18 communities throughout the province to deliver training, coaching and educational tools and resources that build the capacity of partner organizations to integrate human-rights based activities into their own programs, particularly as they relate to children and youth.
Award Donation: Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
The awarded funds will be used to further Equitas’ established partnership with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House to support recently arrived Syrian refugee children and families and reinforce promotion of multiculturalism.
Business Award: Williams Lake Tribune
The Williams Lake Tribune worked in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Cariboo Chilcotin branch to deliver the Dirty Laundry Campaign, an anti-racism media strategy directed at challenging stereotypes and raising cultural awareness. The campaign depicted people who have experienced racism wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a variety of slogans including “I was not expected to succeed” and “Racism stops with me”.
Award Donation: Canadian Mental Health Association – Cariboo Chilcotin branch
The Canadian Mental Health Association – Cariboo Chilcotin branch will use the money to further its multiculturalism projects and continue to offer innovative programs, campaigns, workshops and events that challenge racism and spread the message of acceptance and diversity.
Youth Award: Chitha Manoranjan
Manoranjan’s multicultural and intercultural work has often focused on diverse initiatives and youth-led practices directed toward advancing multiculturalism to support truly inclusive cross cultural societies. He currently works with the North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership, a coalition of community agencies and institutions dedicated to improving settlement outcomes for immigrant newcomers to Vancouver’s North Shore community.
Award Donation: Renfrew-Collingwood Food Security Institute
The award money will be applied towards an intercultural learning exchange/cultural-development project with youth from a variety of backgrounds. To further advance intercultural connections, youth will create and publish a book that reflects on their relationships to food, their culture, and the local food system.
Government Award: BC Housing
The organization’s commitment to multiculturalism is reflected not only in its policies, but in training and events provided to employees, scope of client services offered in the community, and partnerships with organizations throughout the province. Examples include housing and support for immigrants and refugees through its housing registry and rent subsidy programs; its partnership with the Immigrant Services Society of BC to build a new facility that will include one-stop housing and support services for refugees; and the annual Multiculturalism Day celebration involving over 300 BC Housing employees at regional office locations.