A Multicultural Women’s group at the Family Education and Support Centre where women from very different parts of the world get together to learn about each other’s culture by cooking on Zoom. “We can build intercultural trust when we learn from each other,” said Carolina Echeverri, Local Immigration Partnership Secretariat at the centre. (Special to The News)

A Multicultural Women’s group at the Family Education and Support Centre where women from very different parts of the world get together to learn about each other’s culture by cooking on Zoom. “We can build intercultural trust when we learn from each other,” said Carolina Echeverri, Local Immigration Partnership Secretariat at the centre. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows groups receive funds to combat racism

192 organizations across B.C. received part of $1.2 million for their anti-racism initiatives

The fight against racism and discrimination in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows just got a big boost.

Fraser River Indigenous Society in Pitt Meadows and the Family Education and Support Centre in Maple Ridge both received funding through the BC Multiculturalism Grants Program. They were two of 192 organizations across the province to receive part of $1.2 million for their anti-racism initiatives.

The Family Education and Support Centre received $10,000 for their Inclusion Of Diversity Campaign that brings awareness of the benefits of diversity in the communities of Katzie First Nation, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Fraser River Indigenous Society received $5,000 for National Indigenous Peoples Day, an annual event that enhances the understanding and participation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through interaction and sharing of the rich diversity of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit cultures.

RELATED: B.C. government looking to create anti-racism training for high-level officials

Carolina Echeverri with the Family Education and Support Centre said the funding will compliment what they are already doing with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie local immigration partnership and with Resilience BC Spokes, an anti-racism network that connects communities with information, supports and training needed to respond and prevent incidents of racism and hate.

The money will be going towards a brand new initiative where they will be creating a table to include many community participants to create a response protocol for any hate crimes in the community, said Echeveri.

It will also create more awareness on how to respond to hate crimes, and help anybody who suffers from one.

Funding for the Multiculturalism Grants Program was given a one-time boost of $944,000 for 2020-21 to deliver more anti-racism initiatives through Stronger BC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Priority for the grants were given to projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism, said the announcement from the Ministry of Attorney General. These include projects that build intercultural interaction, trust and understanding or challenge racism, hate and systemic barriers.

RELATED: Survey suggests one in two people of colour have experienced online racism in Canada

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith believe this funding will help local organizations fight systemic racism throughout the area.

“The rise we have seen in Anti-Asian hate since the beginning of the pandemic is unacceptable, and we know that racism is not isolated to this community,” said D’Eith.

“This funding for the Inclusion of Diversity Campaign will help bring greater understanding to people about just how important inclusion is within our communities. When we champion and honour diversity, we are at our best.”

Beare acknowledged the great work leaders in marginalized communities are already doing to fight racism through education, supports and programs.

“Our government knows that when multicultural grant funds go directly into the hands of community organizers, especially for something as important as anti-racism initiatives, it produces the most genuine and effective results,” she said.

Have a story tip? Email: cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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