Guest Post: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Ahead of the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Diversity Circles co-creator and FSA Board member Zaa Joseph discusses the anti-racist work of Diversity Circles. There are still a handful of tickets available for next Tuesday’s Diversity Circles’ event.
Diversity Circles is proud, once again, to host an event in recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in partnership with the BCIT Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI) Office.
On Tuesday, March 21, FSA member Orrett Morgan will moderate a discussion among special guests Ndidi Cascade, Tariq Tyab, and Khari Wendell McClelland, sharing their thoughts on the elimination of racial discrimination.
Diversity Circles has long been an advocate for the support, inclusion, and building of community with equity-deserving people at BCIT. We’re very proud to have worked with many communities over the years. Guided by an Indigenous Framework, we’ve pushed for systemic change and provided a platform for those facing discrimination to share their lived experiences.
I’d like to highlight several recent Diversity Circles’ anti-racism events.
The event Community Conversation: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked community members Dr. Annette Henry, Waneek Horn-Miller, Dr. Harold Ishebabi and Wafaa Barakat how we move forward as a collective. The group considered questions like: How does race show up for people in their day-to-day lived experiences? what are these experiences rooted in? how is this part of doing our work (public education) well? why is race difficult to talk about? why is race important to talk about? and how does racial discrimination show up at work and in learning environments? A video recording of the entire event can be seen here.
Community conversations have played an important role in the evolution of Diversity Circles and our imprint on campus. When BCGEU member and Shop Steward Judy Phipps approached Diversity Circles with the idea to film a video panel and hold an in-person dialogue, we joined with open arms, using this space to further define what actions BCIT can take to prevent racial discrimination. This community dialogue was a conversation within the broader context of BCIT’s Anti-Racism activities, encouraging our community to reflect upon and respond to video interviews produced by BCIT Broadcast & Media Communications.
We’ve also helped support and promote similar anti-racist work within the Institute. Former President Kathy Kinloch authorized the creation of the Anti-Racism Working Group, composed of employees from across the Institute. This group, supported by the BCIT Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI) Office, completed broad consultation with our community through a Thought Exchange and other venues, and worked with a consulting team on finalizing an action framework to guide Anti-Racism activities and initiatives at BCIT. This visual board was created to acknowledge the great event and speak to the importance of Anti-Racism initiatives in the Black, Asian and Islamic communities.
Judy Phipps, BCGEU Support Staff, and the BCIT Broadcast Faculty also created Moving Forward: Let’s Talk Anti-Racism, a dialogue in which BCIT alumni Orene Askew and Bhupinder Hundal share their lived experiences to raise awareness and spark positive change.
As we approach this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, I find myself reflecting on what has changed, what still needs to change, and how we can keep moving as allies, accomplices, and members of equity-deserving communities in support of those with lived experiences of racial discrimination.
The occasion provides a great opportunity to reflect, expand our learning, and spotlight some of the great work happening in our communities, such as the support the RDI office provides the BCIT community and the ongoing work of the FSA: which helped create and still provides staff support to Diversity Circles, hosts the FSA Equity Caucus, and has most recently supported the launch of two FSA affinity groups, one for Black members and one for Indigenous members.
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