The federal government has announced $3.5 million in funding for multicultural and anti-racism programs across B.C., and it means a $42,950 boost for Surrey’s award-winning Fusion Festival.
Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan was at the Newton Cultural Centre on Sept. 6 to announce the funding.
Carol Girardi, president of the Arts Council of Surrey, said the organization is “grateful” for the “generous support.”
Girardi added that Fusion Fest is “known as the ultimate celebration of food, music, culture, and the literary, performing and visual arts. Working in partnership with the City of Surrey, the Arts Council of Surrey is able to utilize this important funding to continue celebrating our creative diversity.”
The non-profit Indus Media Foundation is to receive the most funding of any Surrey organization, with the government providing $366,000 for its “Duty, Honour and Izzat” project that highlights India’s First World War contributions. The funding will be used to create a series of short films about the “little-known story” of Punjabi-Canadians’ contributions in the First World War.
A government release notes the project will “facilitate the development of partnerships with the heritage sector on creating inclusive programming, while seeing the films delivered across a spectrum of digital platforms that specifically engage children and youth from the South Asian community about their history and heritage.”
“Community workshops and opportunities for dialogue will also be organized to discuss issues of racism, discrimination, equity and media stereotyping,” the release adds.
Other Surrey groups to receive funding are the African Stages Association for its Africanada Storytelling Symposium ($6,797), the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Association for its project titled “An Indigenous Perspective of Racism in Surrey” ($26,800), and the Royal Academy of Bhangra Society is receiving $25,000 for its “Folk Lok Live: This is Punjab” project, which is also receiving $15,000 for the initiative from the provincial government.
Sajjan said the federal government is “committed to promoting multiculturalism and celebrating the unique cultural diversity of British Columbia by investing in these important anti-racism projects” which will help “fight intolerance and discrimination.”
The funding comes through the federal “Building a Foundation for Change” anti-racism strategy.