Beairsto Elementary students created self-portraits which were displayed at the Vernon Public Art Gallery last year to showcase the different faces of the community. (Black Press video still)

Beairsto Elementary students created self-portraits which were displayed at the Vernon Public Art Gallery last year to showcase the different faces of the community. (Black Press video still)

New training program empowers people to tackle racism, North Coast MLA said

Anti-racism pilot program offers 20 places to more than 15 rural communities

A first-of-its-kind anti-racism training program will empower people to tackle the problem in the North Coast, stated Jennifer Rice MLA, on Aug. 4.

The Leading Change for Resilient Communities (LCRC) program is focused on bringing anti-racism education to rural communities across B.C.

People from more than 18 small communities, including Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Smithers, Houston, Vanderhoof and Fort St. John, are encouraged to apply for the new Anti-Racism Community (ARC) Stewards pilot program, the Ministry of Attorney General announced in an Aug. 4 media statement.

Rice said the new eight-month training program would allow more people to gain the skills they need to de-escalate racist incidents and start community discussions to eliminate racism and discrimination.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in racist incidents in both large and small communities in our province. Any [racist circumstance] is unacceptable, and we all have a role to play in confronting racism here on the North Coast,” she said.

This pilot project was developed by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, a non-profit organization that assists people new to Canada and advances anti-racism initiatives as part of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. Resilience BC is a network of over 34 organizations that connects local leaders with information, support and training they need when responding to and preventing future incidents of racism and hate in their communities.

Applications for the “train the trainer” program are open now at https://www.vircs.bc.ca/lcrcprogram, and are open until August 11. There are 20 places available.

The new ARC Stewards pilot will educate people with a passion for leading anti-racism work in rural communities. According to the Ministry’s press release, successful applicants will learn the skills needed to offer training on how bystanders can address racist incidents and facilitate community dialogues on racism and discrimination in their communities.

The program will include community bystander training, community discussion facilitator training and workshops on the untold history of B.C.

The course runs from October to May 2023 and combines in-person training, online through Zoom and self-guided group work. There is no cost to the successful applicants, with travel costs being provided and up to $175 per travel day and a $350 per training day honorarium offered.


K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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