March 21 is designated by the United Nations (UN) as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

It’s a day observed all around the world to focus attention on the problems of racism and the need to promote racial harmony. The UN made this designation in 1966 to mark a tragic event that took place on March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed during a protest against apartheid.

Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative and launched its first annual campaign against racial discrimination in 1989.

The March 21 Campaign was initiated to heighten awareness of the harmful effects of racism on a national scale and to clearly demonstrate the commitment and leadership of the Government of Canada to foster respect, equality and diversity.

MCoS coordinates and supports campaigns and activities in Saskatchewan communities and schools with contributions from many partners to recognize March 21 and use it as a springboard for the year-long work to recognize and reject racism.

To recognize March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, MCoS is running a provincial educational campaign featuring the theme Racism: Recognize it. Reject it!.

Join our campaign to raise awareness of racism, how it works, the damage it causes, and how we can recognize and reject it.

We created a downloadable PDF activity kit. We have also launched a social media campaign to accompany this campaign using #MarchOutRacism.

Download Activity kit

 

Events

 

Video Recources

 

Join for province-wide Virtual Anti-racism Leadership Workshop

Anti-Racism Youth Leadership Workshop is being offered as a two-part module.

Part 1- Colonization Simulation

March 9, 9:30 -11:30 a.m. & March 10, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Part 2- Levels of Racism and Planning for Action

March 16, 9:30-11:30 a.m. & March 17,1:00-3:00 p.m.

You can choose of the below choices!

Choice 1= March 9 @ 9:30–11:30 a.m. Colonization Simulation AND March 16 @ 9:30–11:30 a.m. Levels of Racism and Planning for Action

Choice 2= March 10 @1:00–3:00 p.m. Colonization Simulation AND March 17 @ 1:00–3:00 p.m. Levels of Racism and Planning for Action

REGISTER HERE

Storytelling events at libraries across Saskatchewan

For families or individuals wanting to participate in Indigenous Storytellers Month, there are events happening all across Saskatchewan. Find a full list here.

The Regina Public Library is hosting the following storytelling events:

  • Indigenous Storyteller’s Gathering on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
  • Indigenous Storytelling Through Children’s Books on Feb. 3
  • Indigenous Storytelling Through Graphic Novels on Feb. 10
  • Indigenous Storytelling Through Films on Feb. 17
  • Indigenous Storytelling through Puppets on Feb. 23

The Saskatoon Public Library is holding the following events:

  • Storytelling Spotlight: All About Storytelling on Feb. 1
  • Storytelling Spotlight: Saulteaux Stories on Feb. 3
  • Indigenous Spotlight: Music from Dallas & Phil Boyer on Feb. 6
  • Storytelling Spotlight:Stories with Maureen Belange on Feb. 10
  • Indigenous Spotlight: Music from Marentin Fehr on Feb. 13
  • Storytelling Spotlight: Sculpture & Story with Lyndon Tootoosis on Feb. 17
  • Indigenous Spotlight: Make Bannock & Soup with Glenna Henderson on Feb. 20
  • Storytelling Spotlight: Eagle Feather News on Feb. 24

“Racism is a public health crisis,” according to a May 2020 statement from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This means that racism — whether unintentional, unconsciously, or concealed — has affected Black Americans’ access to equal and “culturally competent” health care.

For example, it has been widely reported that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black Americans. According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, the death rate for Black Americans nationwide is 2.5 times higher than the rate for white Americans: 67 per 100,000 vs. 26 per 100,000.

Employees of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent a letter to their director alleging “widespread acts of racism and discrimination within CDC that are, in fact, undermining the agency’s core mission” that may have indirectly contributed to that disparity.

Just as some medical facilities have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, increased anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — in people who are worried they might catch the virus or have been impacted by the lockdown and social isolation needed to control the pandemic — may, in turn, overwhelm the mental health system.

Racism is also a stressor for mental health problems.

CLICK here to read the full article.

How Racism Causes Mental Health Problems

In the U.S. surgeon general’s groundbreaking 2016 report Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, it states that Black Americans “are over-represented in populations that are particularly at risk for mental illness.”

Why? NAMI, “the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization,” says it’s because Black people in the United States have been affected by racism and racial trauma “repeatedly throughout history.”

That is, racism and racial trauma did not end with the abolition of slavery in 1865, the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the election of the first Black U.S. president in 2008. The protests in 2020 are a sharp reminder of that.

Mental illnesses such as depression and substance abuse can have a biological component, but they also can be caused or made more likely by external factors. Some are more likely to be experienced by Black individuals, including:

  • Violence
  • Incarceration
  • Involvement in the foster care system

Some other factors are peculiar to the Black Americans’ history, such as:

  • Enslavement
  • Oppression
  • Colonialism
  • Racism
  • Segregation

Common Serious Mental Illnesses Among Black People

Among Black Americans with any mental illness, 22.4% or 1.1 million had a serious mental illness (SMI), according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH): African Americans.

According to the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHSOMH), Black Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental illness (SMI) than the general population.

But other sources claim the rate of SMI is the same or even less for Black people. This seems odd, since poverty influences some SMIs, and Black Americans are more likely to experience poverty.

These results might be skewed, however, due to “culturally oblivious measurements.” There may be a communication barrier even among fellow English speakers from different cultures.

CLICK here to read the full article.

 

The Series: Multiculturalism Impacts Business

Shannon Coleman: Recreating Memories with Meals

Shannon is no stranger to challenges and trying out new things. From the age of 15, she gleefully took up experimenting with meal preparation for her siblings. It did not matter that she had to climb on a stool and lean over the stove to get a good job done. She introduced her own twists on recipes to get specific flavours and tastes. She was excited to impress her Mum and Grand mum having observed them cook delicious meals for years. Her experiments

Twelve years ago, when Shannon was ready to go back to work after raising her kids, her passion and heritage propelled her to a choice. This is the story of how Indulgence Fine Foods and Catering started.

Shannon Coleman is enthusiastic about making an impact in the area of food. Her eyes light up as she shares her vision of using food to create memories. “I observe the thrill in people’s eyes when they see their traditional ethnic foods on the menu. I use many vintage dishes and I have had guests walk up to me excitedly say ‘Oh your dishes remind me of my Mum’, or I have not eaten this dessert for years and you just made me remember home’. There is nothing more flattering than seeing the pleasure and excitement in those eyes”.

Her involvement with food as a means to stir many cultural memories started when the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) team approached Shannon to cater at its Multicultural Honours event. Part of the requirement was ability and willingness to prepare ethnocultural foods as authentically as possible. Prior to this time, Shannon’s menu list for events consisted of meals she had seen and prepared from generation to generation. When asked if this threw her off balance, she said, “I was not scared; I knew I would take the business and did not doubt my ability. Like every new adventure, however, I worried about access to authentic ingredients, and wondered if I had the right utensils in my kitchen. Modern technology has given me access to online recipes and preparation steps. The MCoS team also makes the experience pleasurable by supplying me pictures of food items, so I know what the final product should look like”.

According to Rhonda Rosenberg, Executive Director, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan “our events bring people together and create opportunities to learn. We know that sharing food is an excellent way to open doors to communication. We try to reflect the diversity of our community in the foods we serve at formal and informal gatherings. This creates a sense of belonging and comfort, as well as the adventure of trying something new. We have been working with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office to host Multicultural Honours, often at Government House in Regina. Since 2013, we have had the pleasure of working with Shannon Coleman and Indulgence Fine Foods. She has demonstrated curiousity, respect, and willingness to adapt to reflect the many cultures in our community in her business. This is an illustration of the stream of integration, and supports cultural continuity and celebration of diversity. Shannon values creating delicious delicacies to share in moments that bring us together, make us stronger, and creates understanding”.

The knowledge and skills Shannon has acquired have allowed her to grow in meaningful ways. Her confidence to cater for other business and private multicultural audiences has buoyed. “I now use these recipes in my home all the time. I confidently cater for business meetings with diverse ethnic groups,” she explained.

The decision to take up this business challenge has brought great joy to Shannon. In her search for authentic ingredients, she has become a known face at local ethnic stores. It is common to see someone wave at her or call her name as she meets people who have been guests at events Indulgence Fine Foods catered. Building relationships is always rewarding.

Shannon’s creativity extends from the kitchen to crafts. She loves painting, though she is quick to say, “Oh no, I am not a great painter” with a chuckle. She also loves making jewellery. The next time you are at an event beautifully catered by Shannon and Indulgence Fine Foods, check out her necklace to see one of her amazing creations.

Shannon’s days begin early – starting with “catering” for her two dogs. Then, she takes time for herself and to plan her day. In addition to cooking for people, she loves taking long walks, art, watching television, skiing, spending time with family and friends, and travelling. Mexico, especially Playa del Carmen and Mazatlán, is Shannon’s favourite holiday destination. All of these contribute to a full life guided by Shannon Coleman’s core values of love, respect, and understanding.

Multicultural Youth Leadership Award

Chilombo Mwela is the 2020 recipient for the award. She uses her voice, team spirit and her position as President of the University of Regina African Club (URAC) to display and share her African cultural roots while welcoming diverse perspectives. Chilombo is driven by the belief that different parts make a beautiful whole hence, her support for local artists’ expressions through “You Matter” with dance, and “Your Voice” using photography. The subject of exposing and dismantling racism and discrimination is very dear to her heart. She was among the organizers and speakers at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally on June 7, 2020. Chilombo spoke out against prominent racial behaviours displayed towards Indigenous Peoples and African Canadians through the hands of institutions that are supposed to protect them such as the police and hospitals. She is a dynamic young woman who wears many hats, including makeup artist and wrestler, so it is not unusual see her on billboards in the city! She will receive $500.

Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award (formerly Betty Szuchewycz Award)

The highly experienced Floyd Favel won the Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award. He is an accomplished essayist, journalist, playwright, theatre director, cultural activist and Cree traditionalist. His essays based on his life work are being published and translated into Polish language. He is an active organizer of cultural and artistic events in his community. Favel created the Poundmaker Indigenous Performance Festival, an Indigenous festival which includes diverse performers, guests, and audience. Through this festival, Floyd Favel emphasizes the strength of welcoming multicultural communities by allowing collaborations, sharing, and cultural retention, as well as diversity within the arts community.

Floyd is a champion of open dialogue and has demonstrated multiculturalism over the course of his career. He is curator of the award-winning Poundmaker Museum, which tells important stories of Chief Poundmaker, Chief Big Bear, and other local heroes. They have repatriated important art and artifacts, and were the site of the Prime Minister’s exoneration of Chief Poundmaker. He also starred on CBC Radio’s Dead Dog Café. His $500 will be donated to a charity of choice.

Multicultural Awards Honour Multicultural Superheroes

The year 2020 was an extraordinary one because of COVID-19 pandemic. With less than a week to the scheduled hybrid event, it became apparent that transition to a fully virtual event would be wise following an increase in spread of the virus.

So, on November 21, 2020, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan launched its annual recognition of significant contributions in the community in its first virtual Multicultural Honours Awards. Annually, Saskatchewan Multicultural Week is officially acknowledged as an opportunity to recognize our diversity and demonstrate the five streams of multicultural work that are the basis of our ongoing efforts at equity and inclusion.

The event was hosted by MCoS Executive Director Rhonda Rosenberg, acknowledging that the event and MCoS support reaches lands covered by Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 10 traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Nakota, Lakota, Dakota, Dene, Métis/Michif and formerly Blackfoot Nations. She stressed the individual and collective benefits and responsibilities under these agreements and a dedication to work together in the spirit of collaboration and equity. Elder Lorna Standingready started us off in a good way with blessings.

Though the Lieutenant Governor, Russ Mirasty, was not present, he sent his greetings by video. He expressed his appreciation for everyone working hard to keep the community safe as Saskatchewan battles the pandemic. Mirasty used the opportunity to stress his belief in the value of multiculturalism and diversity that strengthen our democracy. Culture has always enriched his life, shaping his personality, identity, and perspectives. He concluded by acknowledging MCoS’ strong values and impact, congratulated all nominees for their contributions and presented greetings on behalf of her majesty Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, in Cree, his first language.

The Honourable Laura Ross, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport gave her support of the awards through a recorded message. In her words; “Multiculturalism in Saskatchewan says to everyone who comes here, “you can be part of Saskatchewan while retaining the heritage that makes you – you.” It was on this heartwarming note that Meka Okochi, President, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, recognized the many superheroes from multicultural communities, who have risen to the challenges of an extraordinary year caused by COVID-19. They are the essential workers – health care staff, retail clerks, restaurant workers, cleaners, artists and activists creating virtual festivals and sharing cultural traditions on-line.

While introducing the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award category, Leanna Bill, a member, Human Rights and Equity Committee of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU), stated that the shared passion between MCoS and SGEU in positively impacting the community continues to make a strong partnership. Each year, the impressive list of achievements of nominees and recipients confirms our collective determination in making our community more welcoming and equitable place to live. The awards nominees were Chilombo Mwela, Student, University of Regina, and Vibya Natana, Community Development and Sponsorship Director, South-Sudanese Youth of Canada (SSYC), Regina.

Chilombo Mwela is the 2020 recipient for the award. She uses her voice, team spirit and her position as President of the University of Regina African Club (URAC) to display and share her African cultural roots while welcoming diverse perspectives. Chilombo is driven by the belief that different parts make a beautiful whole hence, her support for local artists’ expressions through “You Matter” with dance, and “Your Voice” using photography. The subject of exposing and dismantling racism and discrimination is very dear to her heart. She was among the organizers and speakers at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally on June 7, 2020. Chilombo spoke out against prominent racial behaviours displayed towards Indigenous Peoples and African Canadians through the hands of institutions that are supposed to protect them such as the police and hospitals. She is a dynamic young woman who wears many hats, including makeup artist and wrestler, so it is not unusual see her on billboards in the city! She will receive $500.

Colleen Charles, MCoS Director and Recognition Committee Chair, introduced Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award (formerly Betty Szuchewycz Award). The three nominees were Chetan Amble, Grenfell Community High School, Grenfell, Nelson Eng, Chinese Freemasons, Regina and Floyd Favel, Miyawata Culture, Paynton.

The highly experienced Floyd Favel won the Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award. He is an accomplished essayist, journalist, playwright, theatre director, cultural activist and Cree traditionalist. His essays based on his life work are being published and translated into Polish language. He is an active organizer of cultural and artistic events in his community. Favel created the Poundmaker Indigenous Performance Festival, an Indigenous festival which includes diverse performers, guests, and audience. Through this festival, Floyd Favel emphasizes the strength of welcoming multicultural communities by allowing collaborations, sharing, and cultural retention, as well as diversity within the arts community.

Floyd is a champion of open dialogue and has demonstrated multiculturalism over the course of his career. He is curator of the award-winning Poundmaker Museum, which tells important stories of Chief Poundmaker, Chief Big Bear, and other local heroes. They have repatriated important art and artifacts, and were the site of the Prime Minister’s exoneration of Chief Poundmaker. He also starred on CBC Radio’s Dead Dog Café. His $500 will be donated to a charity of choice. Both recipients also receive Jacqueline Berting framed glass prairie lilies.

By this recognition of multicultural superheroes, MCoS hopes others will be motivated to be intentional in welcoming multiple perspectives to ensure the best community outcomes. This year, various communities are recognizing multiculturalism proclaiming Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, while maintaining COVID-19 precautions. For more information on activities around the province, visit Saskatchewan Multicultural Week.

MCoS is running ‘Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero?’ campaign which allows the people of Saskatchewan to share successful examples of their multicultural superheroes – who inspire others through their values, beliefs and actions. The public is expected to share a video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram identifying their choice and why using the hashtag #MulticulturalSuperhero.

Awards Nominees and Recipients

Leanna Bill, a member, Human Rights and Equity Committee of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU) presented the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award.

The awards nominees were Chilombo Mwela, Student, University of Regina, and Vibya Natana (Left), Community Development and Sponsorship Director, South-Sudanese Youth of Canada (SSYC), Regina. Chilombo Mwela (Right) is the 2020 recipient for the award.

Colleen Charles, MCoS Director and Recognition Committee Chair, introduced Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award (formerly Betty Szuchewycz Award).  The three nominees were Chetan Amble (Left) , Grenfell Community High School, Grenfell, Nelson Eng (Middle), Chinese Freemasons, Regina and Floyd Favel (Right), Miyawata Culture,Paynton.

The highly experienced Floyd Favel won the Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award (formerly Betty Szuchewycz Award). Both recipients also receive Jacqueline Berting framed glass prairie lilies.

MCoS Multicultural Honours Awards Photo Gallery

MCoS encourages you to advocate for multiculturalism. Specifically, you can raise the awareness of candidates in your riding that issues related to multiculturalism are important to you and that you make voting decisions at least in part by considering how platforms reflect multicultural values. MCoS has outlined four multicultural values that inform our work; the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act (1997) and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1985) support them. We present these values below along with questions you could consider asking during this election campaign.

Provincial registration info:

https://www.elections.sk.ca/voters/registration/

Our four multicultural values are rooted in the provincial motto From Many Peoples Strength and expressed as:

Respect for diversity

  • When issues arise between current Canadian practices and specific cultural practices, how will you and your party create policies and programs that establish how to approach and resolve these?

Recognition and rejection of racism

  • What significant changes will your government commit to making in all aspects of the justice, health, education, social services, and other systems through a lens that recognizes racism and ongoing colonial harms?

Intercultural connections

  • In the context of the TRC and MMIWG reports, what strategies and resources will your government bring to build respectful and equal relationships with Indigenous people in Saskatchewan for our culturally diverse and harmonious future?

Integration

  • If elected, what policies, programs and resources will your government dedicate to building and encouraging welcoming and inclusive communities, including the importance of diversity reflected in leadership?

MCoS encourages you to advocate for multiculturalism. Specifically, you can raise the awareness of candidates in your riding that issues related to multiculturalism are important to you and that you make voting decisions at least in part by considering how platforms reflect multicultural values.

MCoS has outlined four multicultural values that inform our work; the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act (1997) and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act (1985) support them. We present these values below along with questions to pose to candidates during this election campaign.

The four multicultural values are rooted in the provincial motto From Many Peoples Strength and the Treaty relationships that define our province. They are expressed as:

Respect for diversity

How will you support municipal institutions and local groups to highlight the benefits of diversity through opportunities for cultural continuity and celebrations of diversity?

Recognition and rejection of racism

In the context of heightened attention on racism, how will you commit to recognizing and replacing policies, processes, and programs that continue inequalities in order to serve communities negatively impacted by racism?

Intercultural connections

What strategies, programs and resources (recreational, library, and school facilities, funding, staff) will you support to build respectful and equal relationships between Indigenous, newcomer and established Canadian residents for our culturally diverse and harmonious future?

Integration

If elected, what policies, programs and resources will you advocate for building and encouraging welcoming and inclusive communities, including the importance of diversity reflected in leadership and in public spaces?

Many ethnocultural minorities, newcomers and Indigenous people require affordable housing. What will you do to deal with aging infrastructure and new builds to ensure that safe affordable housing and communities are available?

 

Response from Rebecca Otitoju, Councillor, White City Councilor.

Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, November 21-29, 2020

In 1974, Saskatchewan was the first province to enact multiculturalism legislation, recognizing the right of every community to retain its identity, language and traditional arts and sciences for the mutual benefit of citizens. In 1997, the Act was revised and a section of the Act states the policy should preserve, strengthen and promote Aboriginal cultures and acknowledge their historic and current contribution to development of Saskatchewan. More information is available on The Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act. Responsibility for the Act resides with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.


MCoS Multicultural Honours Award Nominations

Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, MCoS Multicultural Honours, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Volunteer, Award, Lieutenant Governor, Government House, Multicultural, Racism, Intercultural, Diversity, Saskatchewan

Janelle Pewapsconias is the 2015 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient and Jebunnessa Chapola is the Betty Szuchewycz Award 2015 recipient.

Nominations due Thursday , October 1, 2020

MCoS Multicultural Honours is a Celebration in Honour of Multicultural Contributions
Hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan through the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan

The Awards

Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. Priority will be given to nominees who have demonstrated sustained periods of commitment in their contributions. (The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is partnering with MCoS to present this award, which includes a $500 donation to the recipient’s charity of choice.)

Multicultural Youth Leadership Award for promising contributions from people 29 years and under. (The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is partnering with MCoS to present this award, which now includes a $500 reward.)

Nominate

For all the details, nomination forms, samples, and stories about past recipients, visit: MCoS Multicultural Honours 


Call for Nominations for Multicultural Superheroes

Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero?

As we prepare to celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week November 21-29, 2020 we are asking you to nominate “Multicultural Superheroes” to honour the significant impact they have made in our province through the five streams of multicultural work. MCoS Multicultural Honours: A Celebration in Honour of Multicultural Contributions is an annual event hosted by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan during Saskatchewan Multicultural Week. The awards presented are the  Saskatchewan Multicultural Leadership Award and the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award.


Related Links

Building Welcoming Communities
MCoS Multicultural Honours
Saskatchewan Muticultural Week