How to be an Ally is a free webinar taking place on Oct. 27, 2020, hosted by the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan, the Okanagan Regional Library and the Restorative Justice Society - North Okanagan. (Contributed)

How to be an Ally is a free webinar taking place on Oct. 27, 2020, hosted by the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan, the Okanagan Regional Library and the Restorative Justice Society - North Okanagan. (Contributed)

Learn to be an ally against racism in the North Okanagan

Local organizations are hosting How to be an Ally, an online workshop, on Oct. 27

Racism is a problem that concerns everyone; not just the people it directly affects. That’s the ethos behind an online workshop designed to give people the tools to take action against oppression.

How to be an Ally is a free webinar taking place Oct. 27, hosted by the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan, the Okanagan Regional Library and the Restorative Justice Society. The session is a first step for people who want to learn how to support those who experience racism in their communities.

“Talking about racism and hate is a challenging conversation, and I think we’re just starting to learn what that means and to unpack what it means to be an ally,” said Annette Sharkey, executive director of the Social Planning Council.

“What it takes to be an ally is curiosity, to be brave, to care, and to really be willing to look at ourselves, our actions and our privilege.”

The workshop will be led by a pair of well-accomplished facilitators. Laura Hockman is a member of the Gitxsan First Nation in Northern B.C. and executive director of Independent Living Vernon. Margaret Clark, an Okanagan-Irish woman, is the executive director of the North Okanagan Restorative Justice Society, a non-court alternative service to address the harms caused by acts of wrong-doing.

Sharkey said the webinar is open to anybody who agrees that racism is a problem but is unsure of how to get involved to make their community safer.

READ MORE: Vernon Mounties probe white supremacy propaganda

READ MORE: ‘Hate will not be tolerated:’ Vernon mayor

“We feel that there is an interest in the community to start talking about what it means to be an ally,” she said. “We want to be an anti-racist community, but we first need to talk about what that means.”

Discussions around racism are especially useful in small, predominantly white communities, says Sharkey, who is often asked whether racism exists in Vernon.

“Of course, in every community across Canada there is racism.”

Vernon saw evidence of that in late September and early October, when flyers with website addresses to white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups were scattered on the streets near a number of local schools.

“I think when something like that happens, your immediate response is ‘what can I do?’” Sharkey said. She added that the actions of parents and school staff were a “perfect example” of being an ally.

“They were immediately outraged by those flyers and did everything they could to collect them and get them out of the public space. That’s exactly what we need: for people to be engaged, to care and to follow up with action.”

The webinar takes place Oct. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will be followed by two online “talking circles” on Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 during the same hours.

Learning how to be an ally is an ongoing process, and so Sharkey says more webinar sessions will be announced in the future.

To register, visit the Okanagan Regional Library website.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The IIO has concluded its investigation into police's actions in a West Kelowna man's death. (File Photo)
UPDATE: One dead after Highway 97A crash near Armstrong, police watchdog investigating

The crash happened as RCMP attempted to stop an alleged stolen vehicle

BC NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu offered praise to her team of volunteers (pictured Oct. 21), following a too-close race with BC Liberal and incumbent Eric Foster in the 2020 provincial election Oct. 24. The outcome will be dependent on the final count from mail-in ballots expected in three weeks. (Facebook)
‘Every vote counts’ in tight Vernon-Monashee race: NDP Harwinder Sandhu

Incumbent BC Liberal Eric Foster finishes election night with slim lead

NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu, right, and incumbent Liberal Eric Foster went head-to-head in a tight race for the Vernon-Monashee seat in the Legislature. By the night’s end Oct. 24, the results were too close to call and the final count will be dependant on outstanding mail-in ballots. (Contributed)
Too close to call in Vernon-Monashee race

Incumbent Foster holds slim lead over NDP Sandhu, mail-in ballots still to come

Advance polling saw nearly 10,000 votes cast in Vernon-Monashee. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
BC VOTES 2020: Live results roll in for Vernon-Monashee race

That’s a wrap on voting in the provincial 2020 election

BC Liberal Party Shuswap candidate Greg Kyllo and wife Georgina celebrate another successful campaign, with preliminary results for the 42nd provincial general election showing Greg winning the riding with a comfortable majority. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Shuswap’s Greg Kyllo faces third term and BC NDP majority

BC NDP candidate Sylvia Lindgren celebrates party’s success

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna Secondary School. (SD23 photo)
One case of COVID-19 identified at Kelowna Secondary School

Interior Health will follow up directly with those who may have been exposed to the virus

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read