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Maple Ridge agency to help shape anti-racism legislation in B.C.

The Anti-Racism Act is expected to be introduced by the province in 2024
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A Multicultural Women’s group at the Family Education and Support Centre where women from very different parts of the world share each other’s culture through cooking online. (Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge organization was one of 68 to receive a grant to help in the development of new anti-racism legislation in the province.

Family Education and Support Centre, which provides multicultural awareness and education programs to the community, was one of more than 100 organization to apply for a grant with a maximum amount available for each agency of $5,000.

Programs at the centre are geared to help strengthen participation and increase understanding of cultural diversity in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and Katzie First Nation. The centre also offers parenting and children’s programs and various support groups. There is also a Interfaith Bridging Committee, that works to connect and create dialogue among diverse faith groups for the purpose of harmony, peace and understanding – and a Local Immigration Partnership council that meets monthly to help improve the coordination of services that facilitate settlement and integration of newcomers.

The money was handed out by the province to give racialized people an opportunity to share their perspectives in a culturally safe space and help shape the Anti-Racism Act, which is expected to be introduced in 2024.

“Too many people in B.C. experience systemic racism every day,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives.

“Part of how we will become an anti-racist society is by centring the lived experiences of those who have been marginalized by the harms of racism when we try to address it,” she said, noting that the grants will give front-line organizations the opportunity to amplify the voices of the communities that will be most affected by our new anti-racism legislation.

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The province wants input from racialized communities from all walks of life, including from faith-based groups and those in the 2SLGTBQIA+ community, to make sure upcoming anti-racism legislation will make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Exactly $308,000 was allocated by the government, divided between the successful applicants.

Community engagements will run until the end of September and will be culturally appropriate, safe and responsive to the needs of each community.

ALSO: Province announces $1.1 million grants for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The Anti-Racism Act is being co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, and the province has provided more than $450,000 of additional money to First Nations and Métis partners to help with the distinctions-based, co-development process.

Attorney General Niki Sharma said she want Indigenous and racialized people to know that the provincial government is listening and wants to work together to address systemic racism.

“These community-led engagement sessions are part of the co-development model we are using to ensure that future government services are delivered fairly and equitably to all British Columbians,” said Sharma.

All residents of B.C. can share how they think the government should address systemic racism by completing an anti-racism questionnaire by Sept. 30, which is available online in 15 languages at: engage.gov.bc.ca/antiracism.


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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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