Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo: flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo: flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)

Anti-racism programs boosted with $1.9M as part of B.C.’s COVID response

A ‘devastating’ side effect of pandemic has been increase of racism and hate crimes in B.C, Singh says

The Surrey MLA who oversees B.C.’s anti-racism initiatives has announced more resources to address racism as part of the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“One of the most devastating side effects of COVID-19 has been the increase of racism and hate crimes across B.C.,” said Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, in a news release on Dec. 9.

“There is no place for racism and hate in British Columbia. That’s why we are investing resources to make communities in all corners of the province more welcoming and inclusive.”

Four anti-racism initiatives will be boosted by $1.9 million in provincial funding, as part of the Stronger BC program. They include a one-time “expansion and enhancement” of the year-old Resilience BC anti-racism network, and an anti-racism public education campaign.

The resiliencebcnetwork.ca website says the network aims to promote “safe, inclusive communities through education, outreach tools and the distribution of a community incident response protocol.”

Active in more than 50 communities in B.C., Resilience BC is operated by Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society.

In October, Vancouver Police released crime stats that show from January to September 2020, hate-crime incidents increased 116 per cent over the same period in 2019, and 878 per cent for anti-Asian hate crimes.

A “Hate Has No Place in B.C.” video was posted to the provincial government’s YouTube channel in September.

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Singh was sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives on Nov. 24.

• READ MORE: Surrey gets two cabinet ministers, a parliamentary secretary and government whip.

Days later, Singh responded to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report, In Plain Sight, which laid out 24 recommendations to address what Turpel-Lafond called a “widespread and insidious” problem with racism against Indigenous peoples in B.C.’s health care system.

• RELATED STORY: No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

“Our government is determined to tackle systemic racism in all its forms,” Singh stated.

“I look forward to supporting the work required to address the findings in Dr. Turpel-Lafond’s report. That support will include engaging British Columbians to create a new anti-racism act and working with the human rights commissioner and others to pave the way for race-based data collection to help reduce systemic discrimination in various sectors, including health care. Our cross-government approach includes anti-racism measures under the Stronger BC plan and the Resilience BC anti-racism network to help communities address discrimination and the broader issues of systemic and institutionalized racism.”

• READ ALSO, from March 2020: Two women recognized for multiculturalism, anti-racism work in Surrey.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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