A local non-profit society supporting LGBTQ+ South Asians and the Delta School District are among the 192 organizations receiving anti-racism funding from the provincial government.
On Thursday (April 8), the province announced it was providing funding via its multicultural grants program to a number of community-based organizations for projects that build intercultural interaction, trust and understanding, or that challenge racism, hate and systemic barriers. Priority for these recent grants was given to projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism.
“Racism is pervasive and it reaches into every corner of our province. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse,” Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, said in a press release. “That’s why these grants prioritize projects addressing anti-Indigenous, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism. These grants will not only help organizations across the province to address systemic racism, but also provide learning opportunities to foster better understanding and encourage intercultural conversation in B.C. communities.”
Two local organizations — Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society and the Delta School District — were among those selected for this round of funding, which Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon said will help fight systemic racism throughout Delta.
“We felt it was important to support these organizations steeped in our collective fight against overt and systemic racism,” Kahlon said in a press release. “Anti-racism is a tireless but essential struggle led by many of our local organizations who are integral to bringing change in our communities.”
Sher Vancouver is receiving $10,000 towards Emergence: Out of the Shadows, a feature-length social justice documentary shot entirely in Metro Vancouver that, according to a description on the Sher Vancouver website, explores the taboo topic of being gay or lesbian in the South Asian community, both here and abroad.
“Sher Vancouver is very grateful for the B.C. multiculturalism grant. It costs a lot of money to produce a feature film. The support will help us tremendously to take the film to the next level in post-production and get great sound and music,” Sher Vancouver founder and North Delta resident Alex Sangha, who produced Emergence: Out of the Shadows and appears in the film, said in an email to the Reporter.
“Thank you to the Province of B.C. for allowing us to share our stories. There are not many films about gay and lesbian South Asians and their families. We hope to shine a light on the strengths, struggles and challenges of our community.”
The Delta School District, meanwhile, is also receiving $10,000 towards “Student Agency and Voice,” an initiative to fight anti-BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) racism based out of North Delta’s Sands Secondary that will allow high school students across Delta to provide voice and action against racism in their schools by engaging in BIPOC anti-racism projects, including producing an educational video to be shared in the district’s 24 elementary schools and across the community.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant,” school board chair Val Windsor said in a press release. “Education plays a pivotal role in tackling racism, and this grant will support a valuable project aimed at fostering a culture of inclusion for all students and staff, including those who identify as Indigenous, Black or people of colour. The board remains committed to eradicating and preventing racial discrimination within our structures, policies, programs and practices.”
According to a press release from the district, the project will leverage a student-initiated study into racism which is currently taking place at Sands with support from vice-principal Joanna Macintosh, and will provide an opportunity for the students to network across the district in order to create action teams in the other six Delta secondary schools who can carry out similar student-led projects.
The documentary to be produced will feature stories and voices of BIPOC high school students from across the district to help increase community understanding related to systemic racism. As well, guest speakers will be invited to address secondary students via Zoom conferences.
“The vision of education in Delta is one of success for all — All meaning all,” assistant superintendent Nancy Gordon, who chairs the district’s anti-racism committee, said in a press release. “We all have a role to play in creating an inclusive community where anti-racism is the norm. The district has created anti-racism resources to help our educators address racism with students, including a website (deltalearns.ca/antiracism). Receiving this grant for our project means students and staff will be able to further challenge racism and work towards equity and inclusion within our schools.”