VICTORIA - B.C. multicultural communities are benefiting from nearly $1.3 million to support projects that will celebrate diversity, address racism and help build inclusive communities.
Thirty-four organizations throughout the province are receiving funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism's Arts Engagement and Interfaith Bridging programs. The programs award up to $35,000 to each successful applicant.
The Arts Engagement program uses artistic expression as a way of connecting people. The funding supports a large range of projects that aim to bring diverse groups together through a wide range of artistic mediums - from performance arts to oral storytelling - to promote multiculturalism and challenge racism.
B.C. is the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide funding specifically focused on faith and spiritual diversity. Projects under the Interfaith Bridging program help to build relationships between diverse established faith communities and provide links to increase understanding where elements of each community intersect with others.
In addition to these two strands of funding, the ministry has also just released nearly $300,000 in multiculturalism grants to 126 organizations to raise awareness and strengthen the capacity of multicultural organizations to promote and enhance B.C.'s multicultural identity.
Yap announced the funding while visiting the innovative Multiculturalism Week art installation in Vancouver's Robson Square. It features a maple tree that members of the public are dressing with paper leaves and messages of how they 'live multiculturalism'.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism -
"It is vital that we continue to find new and creative ways to reach out to individuals and communities to emphasize the importance of fostering a strong, tolerant multicultural society. Arts Engagement and Interfaith Bridging projects provide valuable tools to promote acceptance and inclusiveness in every corner of our province."
Manpreet Grewal, Abbotsford Community Services Society -
"The Arts Engagement funds provide a unique medium for people to engage in anti-racism, inclusion and diversity work through different streams of arts. For our latest project, seven muralists worked with a mural director to display our organizations diversity statement on a 230-feet-long* wall. It is a bold, visible and proud display of our values of inclusion and how we define ourselves."
Bruce Curtis, chief administrator, Community Justice Centre of the Comox Valley Society -
"Embrace BC's support for our Compassionate Communities project this year has permitted us to bring together over nine faith communities and a variety of secular partners to develop a year long program on compassion. We are building on the work of previous projects to reinforce our community's desire to combat racism, homophobia and hate activity and live together in better ways for all."
- The Arts Engagement and Interfaith Bridging projects currently being funded are contracted to be complete at the end of March 2014.
- The level of funding for each organization was based on the amount requested in individual applications of up to $35,000 each.
- The Multiculturalism Grant Program was established to honour and celebrate British Columbia's cultural diversity, through two project streams, Cultural Expression and Capacity Building.
- The maximum multiculturalism grant funding per organization is $5,000.
- The Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism's EmbraceBC program provides resources and tools that help citizens of British Columbia further understand the importance of diversity and increase their level of community engagement around multiculturalism and anti-racism.
- Since its launch in 2009, it has funded over 85 projects, engaging more than 12,000 participants throughout British Columbia and has provided almost $5 million in funding.
- EmbraceBC provides funding opportunities for community-based anti-racism and multiculturalism through six program elements: Arts Engagement, Community Dialogues, Inclusive Leadership, Interfaith Bridging, Organizing Against Racism and Hate and Public Education.
- B.C. Multiculturalism week is held every year in third week of November. This year it will run from Nov. 18-24.
EmbraceBC Arts Engagement: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/funding/arts/index.page
EmbraceBC Interfaith Bridging: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/funding/bridging/index.page
Multiculturalism Grant Program: http://www.embracebc.ca/embracebc/funding/index.page?WT.svl=Centre
Details of funding recipients: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/multicultural_grants_recipients.pdf
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Responsible for Multiculturalism