The B.C. government is working to end systemic racism.
An announcement of $88,000 in community grants was made July 13 in Kelowna. Thirty-five organizations from across the province are recipients of the money to promote the B.C. Demographic Survey.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu and Minister of Citizens’ Services Lisa Beare were joined at Bunk House Desi Junction by Ellen Boelcke with Kelowna Community Resources, a grant recipient.
Boelcke said KCR is receiving $2,500 from the $88,000.
“We had put our name forward to support the demographic survey. In that proposal we said here’s what we would do. Our primary purpose for this is that the survey is actually put out in 15 different languages, but we have 35 languages in house. We can help to make sure that all voices are heard regardless of their primary language.”
The demographic survey is looking to identify systemic racism, gaps in government services, and building better communities in B.C.
The survey is open to all residents as young as 13.
“We have people accessing all types of services,” Beare said. “We need access to youth mental health, access to healthcare, whether there are gaps in education services. It’s important to have the full range of information for people.”
Beare said it’s also why the average middle-aged white man or woman should complete the survey.
“If you take Harwinder and I for example, if I fill out the survey and Harwinder fills out the survey we’re able in government to identify the level of services that I’m receiving and the level of services that Harwinder is receiving. Two middle-aged women, are we getting equitable services, are there gaps, are there areas where Harwinder may be facing systemic racism or barriers in accessing resources that we don’t know about.”
Sandhu has been in the news previously for facing racism during her political campaign. She is beyond proud to help build better communities for future generations.
Organizations can still apply for the grant to help promote the survey until early August.
The survey is open until Sept. 29.
Once data is collected, Beare said anti-racism legislation will be implemented in the fall.