Supporting the new anti-racism data act as an important first step in combatting systemic racism

DIVERSEcity supports the Government of BC’s new anti-racism data legislation as a “much overdue but significant first step.”

DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society is proud to be part of helping combat systemic and institutional racism in BC through new anti-racism data legislation.

In January 2022, DIVERSEcity was one of 70 community organizations that conducted engagement sessions with the people we serve on race-based data collection to help inform the creation of BC’s newly released anti-racism data act. The act aims to move forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities to use and share data safely to help address systemic racism and make government programs and services better for more people.

The pandemic and racial tensions over the last two years have helped us all acknowledge how deep systemic racism is embedded into our systems — even in a multicultural and democratic society like Canada. Incidents of racism and hate crimes have, in fact, increased according to Statistics Canada, and corroborated through DIVERSEcity’s own engagement sessions. DIVERSEcity’s work is about supporting our newcomer and other diverse clients on their journey in overcoming these barriers to build the life they want, while also advocating to move these issues forward to build an equitable society for all.

“We are proud to have been a part of this ground-breaking work in identifying gaps and barriers for racialized British Columbians through the engagement sessions we held at DIVERSEcity. We heard directly from individuals on their experiences with racism, and it reinforced what we see and hear in our communities that our current systems make it difficult for racialized individuals to access the help they need,” says Neelam Sahota, Chief Executive Officer, DIVERSEcity.

“We now look forward to continuing in partnership to support the Government of BC’s critical steps forward in breaking down the harmful legacy of institutional systemic racism and colonial biases that continue to cause inequity and harm for Indigenous and racialized people today. Every British Columbian must have equitable and safe access to government and community programs and supports. We recognize that this legislation is a much overdue but significant first step.”

There is more work to do, and we must all come together as a society to commit to being anti-racist and calling out discrimination in all forms.

More about the anti-racism engagement sessions at DIVERSEcity

DIVERSEcity held seven engagement sessions, both virtually and in-person, in January 2022, with racialized LGBTQ+ newcomers, immigrant adults, seniors, BIPOC women, BIPOC youth and BIPOC people with disabilities to share their experiences of discrimination and discuss how anti-racism data legislation could be used to address systemic racism.

While collecting this information from our clients, we created a safe space with a trauma-informed counsellor available to provide emotional support, given that discussions may be triggering.

In these sessions, we discussed participants’ experiences accessing government services and discussed how anti-racism data legislation could be used to address systemic racism. Participants were asked questions on on four key areas: how you are represented in the data; collection of race-based data; access and use of race-based data; and impacts of using race-based data. Learn more here.