Abbotsford Community Services delivers anti-racism program

ABBOTSFORD – As part of a B.C.-wide initiative, Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) has received $20,000 from the provincial government toward the delivery of a local anti-racism project.

Responding to research and trends that acknowledge oppression as trauma, Abbotsford Community Services will develop and deliver workshops and tools to councillors, service providers and first responders to recognize signs of racial trauma and respond effectively. It will also supply funding for clinical councillors to provide support for people who experience direct forms of racism.

“Building fair, equitable and cohesive communities, where everyone feels they belong is always work in progress,” ACS director of multicultural and immigrant integration services Manpreet Grewal said. “We appreciate the support to continue building on the synergies of various stakeholders in our community through the Organizing Against Racism and Hate program.”

“As the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, we continue to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all individuals,” Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong said. “ACS effectively delivers programs and services in our community to help achieve this goal.”

Abbotsford Community Services is one of 14 B.C.-based organizations that are sharing nearly $263,000 from the provincial government in the latest round of grants to fund local anti-racism projects.

These anti-racism projects include community events, works of art, theatre productions and a variety of other forms of community engagement designed to fight racism.

“This funding supports ACS as they deliver valuable services that strengthens our communities,” Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson said. “Providing training for service providers and first responders will help those in need.

“It can be challenging for new citizens to integrate into a new country and society,” Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas said. “We want to ensure individuals feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in British Columbia, and the hard work of ACS helps with the transitions and makes our community a better place.”

In November 2015, the B.C. government announced it had provided $240,000 to 14 organizations belonging to the Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) network to support the work they do to address racism in B.C.

British Columbia is Canada’s most ethnically diverse province, with almost 30 per cent of residents having emigrated from another country.