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Multicultural Awards Honour Multicultural Superheroes

Awards Program Highlights benefits of Diversity

Members of Saskatchewan’s multicultural community gathered at Government House in Regina on November 17, 2018 for MCoS Multicultural Honours to recognize significant contributions to multiculturalism by our very own multicultural superheroes. This annual hallmark event kicks-off Saskatchewan Multicultural Week and our host was His Honour the Honourable W. Thomas Molloy, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. 
Master of Ceremonies and Executive Director of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Heather Salloum, began the event by acknowledging that Government House is in Treaty 4 territory. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another through mutual respect and partnerships that began over 150 years ago. We are all Treaty People. This land is the traditional meeting ground and homeland of the First Nations, including Nehiyaw/Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Nakota, Lakota, Dakota, and the Métis. 
We were honoured to have Elder Archie Weenie provide the opening blessing, setting the tone for a respectful and meaningful gathering. The Honourable Tom Molloy was sworn-in as Saskatchewan’s 22nd Lieutenant Governor provided opening remarks, underscoring the realities of the Saskatchewan motto From Many Peoples Strength, and his commitment to reduce racism. The Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister for Parks, Culture and Sport offered remarks, reiterating the benefits of diversity. Finally, Neeraj Saroj, President of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, brought remarks celebrating volunteers and multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. He also introduced the presentation. 
This year’s presentation highlighted the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Mindful Creative Writing Course featuring a reading by Mays Al Jamous, student, of her poem titled “Being a Refugee.” The video about the school program and the poetry reading provide excellent examples of multicultural superheroes who inspire us to build welcoming and inclusive communities in our province.

Awards Nominees and Recipients

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The MCoS recognition committee, comprised of board and community members, assesses all nominees on their contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through all five streams of multicultural work – Cultural Continuity, Celebration of Diversity, Anti-Racism, Intercultural Connections, and Integration – and decides the recipients.  
The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) once again partnered with the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan to sponsor the Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. SGEU President, Bob Bymoen, brought remarks and introduced the award.  
This year’s Multicultural Youth Leadership Award nominees are Nour Albaradan who stands out for her strong and effective involvement in school in the short time she has been in Canada, and Jiazhi Ding who is an International student at the University of Saskatchewan. He has stood up for the rights of Falun Gong and Black Lives Matter, as well as supported newcomers.  
The recipient of the 2018 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award is Nour Albaradan. She received an award of $500 from MCoS and SGEU. 
Nour has used her experience, voice, and passion to contribute meaningfully to the recognition and celebration of multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. Nour is proud of her Syrian heritage, so she is happy to share her culture, language, delicious food, and refugee experiences with others. Nour is always willing to let her voice be heard for equity and against discrimination, which requires extra practice in her new language. Her willingness to share her story and experiences in order to foster deeper learning and true understanding makes her an intercultural role model. Nour was part of Sheldon’s first Mindful Creative Writing class, where her openness and dedication to understanding, created an environment of inclusion that allowed other students to learn from her story and become confident in sharing their own stories. Nour’s contributions to her new Canadian home have been truly astounding! She uses her powerful voice to create awareness and connection. She is a multicultural superhero who does not allow anything to stop her. (Read: Nour Albaradan Full Bio)
Muna De Ciman, MCoS Director and Chair of the Recognition Committee, introduced the Betty Szuchewycz Award. In partnership with the Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union, Muna presented the nominees and recipient of the 2018 Betty Szuchewycz Award.   
The committee received four Betty Szuchewycz Award nominees. Barb Dedi stands out for her extensive local work with individuals and groups to bridge gaps between communities. Hasanthi Galhenage is the director of the Cathedral Area Co-operative Daycare. She uses her leadership role to cultivate a learning environment that celebrates commonalities and differences. Paul Kardynal has been a champion for new immigrants to Canada and Ukrainian Canadians in the Battlefords and northwest Saskatchewan for over 30 years. Yaseen Khan is very committed to taking initiatives to create awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace. He has shown leadership in accommodating multifaith practices at SaskTel.  
The 2018 Betty Szuchewycz Award recipient is Barb Dedi. She selected Spring Free From Racism for a donation of $500 from MCoS and SGEU.
Barb demonstrates her life-long commitment to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan through extensive local work with individuals, groups and organizations in Regina, as well as involvement with provincial, national and international organizations focusing on human rights, employment equity, labour, racism, and psychiatry issues. Barb is a cultural continuity role model as she promotes ethnocultural organizations to strengthen the diversity in Regina and Canada. Barb’s dedication to recognizing and rejecting racism are readily evident. She is the President of Spring Free From Racism Saskatchewan Association on Human Rights Inc. and has been active in this provincial organization for close to 40 years of its 50-year history. Barb’s life is a story of intercultural connections; she welcomes and creates opportunities for people to share their story, their journey and their intercultural experiences. She supports organizations to develop a deeper understanding of what cultural diversity means and to create a respectful and fair community where everyone is welcome. As a force for integration, ensuring all people are seen as contributors, Barb has been an activist in the labour movement and political realm for human rights, equity and women’s committees. Barb’s impressive work has been noted with awards and nominations, including the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal, SGEU and YWCA. Through her forty years of leadership, she has fostered new leaders who take significant roles in their own ethnocultural communities, lead workshops, coordinate pavilions to celebrate their culture and our diversity, and address racism and discrimination. (Read: Barb Dedi Full Bio) 

Celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week 

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We celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week to recognize that in 1974, Saskatchewan was the first province to enact multiculturalism legislation. Responsibility for the Act resides with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport.  Learn more & view the Act: http://mcos.ca/saskatchewan-multicultural-week/  
We also celebrate through the campaign: Who’s Your Multicultural Superhero? Tell us and Celebrate Saskatchewan Multicultural Week all November. Use #MulticulturalSuperhero on social media. This campaign outlines successful examples of leaders being able to inspire others through their values, beliefs and actions. Learn more about the campaign: http://mcos.ca/multiculturalsuperhero

MCoS Multicultural Honours Awards Photo Gallery

Join the conversation: Anti-racism engagement

Current status: Open (closes December 9, 2018)
Department of Canadian Heritage

This engagement on anti-racism is open to all Canadians and we want to hear from you! We invite you to lend your voice, views and experiences. Your input is essential to ensure our work to address racism reflects your experiences and your suggestions.

A new national anti-racism strategy
Racism divides communities, breeds fear and fuels animosity. Addressing racism and discrimination is a longstanding commitment of Canadians who see our country’s diversity as a source of strength. Canada is strong, not in spite of our differences, but because of them. Unfortunately, Canada is not immune to racism and discrimination — challenges remain when it comes to fully embracing diversity, openness and cooperation.
It is vital that Canada stands up to discrimination perpetrated against any individual or group of people on the basis of their religion and/or ethnicity and this is why the Government of Canada has committed to engage the public on a new federal anti-racism strategy. We are exploring racism as it relates to employment and income supports, social participation (for example, access to arts, sport and leisure) and justice. We are asking people across the country to inform this new strategy in meaningful, relevant, and solutions-focused discussions based on these topics.

Notice

These pages contain references to racism and discrimination, including online survey questions designed to collect personal experiences and beliefs on a voluntary basis. Materials may bring up past experiences of discomfort, anxiety, and/or trauma. Please engage with this content only when you feel prepared.
If you feel you have experienced discrimination or harassment based on one or more of the grounds protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act – including race, national or ethnic origin, colour and religion – you may be able to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Join in: How to participate

In-person sessions are also being held with community members, leaders, experts (particularly those with lived experience), academics, and stakeholders across Canada. These meetings will not be open to the public in order to ensure that participants are able to have focused, meaningful and safe conversations on subjects that, for many, include reflecting on harmful experiences.
Thank you for your interest. We look forward to your contribution.

Who can participate

We’re interested in hearing from all Canadians, especially those who have direct experience with racism and discrimination and those who offer intersectional perspectives.

Key themes for discussion

To focus on those issues where racism and discrimination most directly touch people’s lives, as well as those policy areas that most closely overlap with the Government of Canada’s jurisdiction, the following themes will guide the engagement:

  • Employment and income supports
  • Social participation (for example, sport, art, leisure)
  • Justice

Related links

Contact us

Department of Canadian Heritage
Anti-Racism Engagement
15 Eddy Street
Gatineau QC K1A 0M5
Email
pch.antiracism-antiracisme.pch@canada.ca
Telephone
1-866-811-0055
1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)
TTY
1-888-997-3123 (toll-free)

Main link

https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/anti-racism-engagement.html 

Funding, Grants, Programs, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism, racism, multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, culture, ethnicity, awareness, acceptance

 

Engage in the Five streams of Multicultural Work

Apply for Strategic Initiatives Funding

Deadline is September 15, 2018

MCoS invests in approximately 15 projects and events per year for projects that fulfill our mission and contribute to at least one of the five streams of multicultural work. You can apply for up to $3,000 per project.
Learn more and apply: http://mcos.ca/strategic-initiatives/ 


Add Multicultural Education to the Classroom

Apply for the Multicultural Education Initiatives (MEI) Grant

Deadline is October 31, 2018

MCoS offers $200 – $400 Multicultural Education Initiative (MEI) grants to schools and school boards in Saskatchewan to benefit students through classroom and professional development projects that support anti-racism, reconciliation, diversity and cultural education outcomes and promote the understanding, respect, appreciation, acceptance and celebration of all people as equally valuable in our society. We support 25 to 50 educational projects each year.
Learn more and apply: http://mcos.ca/multicultural-education-initiatives/

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2019 Multifaith Calendar now available for purchase!

The theme for the 2019 edition is ‘Coming Together: Exploring New Connections’. The 28 images in the 2019 calendar explore this theme and are original works of art from a wide variety of artistsMulticultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism, racism, multiculturalism, ethnic diversity, culture, ethnicity, awareness, acceptance, investment, multifaith, multifaith calendar, faith, religion across North America and internationally.
Here are just some of the benefits and uses of Multifaith Calendars:

  • A source of accurate dates and descriptions of approx 430 events, including observances from 14 world religions.
  • An excellent fundraising vehicle for all organizations, including non-profit/charitable groups.
  • Bulk order discounts and wholesale opportunities available.
  • Valuable tool for human resource professionals in diverse workplaces to keep themselves aware of holiday observances of staff from different faith communities.
  • Makes an attractive gift for clients and for staff—a gift that reinforces your company’s commitment to diversity.

Order the 2019 Multifaith Calendar today!

Visit: http://mcos.ca/multifaith-calendar/

Cultural collaborations through mindful creative writing course

“We live in a world that is divided. We build judgements and create stereotypes about people we do not know. Even though we often live, work and learn beside each other – we do not really know each other. When we know each other and really listen to each other’s stories or experience, we can then come to learn from each other,” explains educator Kyla McIntyre, laying down the reasoning for the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Mindful Creative Writing course, designed to shift this narrative.
There are 14 students in this class. They come from many different cultures and languages. Some are newcomers and some are born in Canada. Some speak fluent English and others are just

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Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Mindful Creative Writing Course. Student and Poet Mays Al Jamous shares her work with the class.


beginning. This course actively encourages students of different backgrounds to come together to share their stories of experience with each other. One of the main goals of this course is to support belonging and inclusion, facilitating intercultural connections. Throughout this course, students learned about their own stories and were given tools to share them with others. Instead of learning about culture and diversity from books and the internet, students learn from each other and create relationships. The process of creative writing and practicing mindfulness each day forms a community of learners.
A Multicultural Education Initiatives grant from MCoS partially supports spoken word artist Cat Abenstein to work with this class. She is a weekly presence and supports students through all phases of their writing from drafting, editing, sharing and even performing in front of the school. Cat uses her professional artist experience to support students to truly find and share their voices.
Grade 11 student, Amie LeGrand, reflects upon the impact of the mindful creative writing course: “In creative writing, we talk about the culture of everyone in the class and get to know each other and what they have experienced. We talk about the uncomfortable topics and write about them in poems, songs and speeches – this opens our minds. The work that I have seen from my classmates is astounding. To have such students at Sheldon just shows how multicultural we are as a school and that we are more unified than we realize… I’ve learned that fear or uncertainty creates prejudice and this leads to the act of discrimination, by learning about each other this is where we can end discrimination.”
During the school’s March 21 celebration, students share the work they have created in class and this ripples through the school community to create true inclusion and belonging. Students have an opportunity to hear stories of experience from cultures they likely would not otherwise hear. These students also share their work at a school celebration attended by over 500 students. The media is invited to this event as well and then their stories are shared worldwide. Some of the poems were recorded for CBC and then played over the radio. In addition, many students have shared work created in this class at other events such as reconciliation events, a Settlement Support Workers in Schools (SSWIS) conference and an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher’s conference. In addition, in 2017, the students published a book with Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC) – so the work that is developed in the course becomes part of the community.


Student Poetry

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Sheldon-Williams Collegiate – Mindful Creative Writing Course Poets featured below. L-R: Amie LeGrand, Mays Al Jamous and Sunny Sun.

Do you want to know Mays Al Jamous?
By Amie LeGrand

What should I tell you about her?
The girl who has beautiful almond skin?
How would I describe her?
Would you like to get to know her?
Her kindness is known and shared to all
With her smile that makes everyone’s heart bounce with joy and delight.
She has bravery in her.
She may be soft spoken but what lays within her is a dangerous fire.
She has seen death by gunfire when people tried to hide and take cover.
She heard bombs and high-pitched screams when air fleets targeted her home streets.
Her experience and story of her life there has wise words with a ray of light for guidance and hope.
She now lives in Canada, eh!
With Saskatchewan’s flat grounds and minus fifty below weather.
Does she truly love the snowy weather?
Who the hell knows.
She will always miss Syria
Memories filled with love
She dreams of her bright future with a medical degree
And her children playing by her family tree Now that her country is now free
Now that I’ve told you about her
Would you like to know more
From the one, the only, Mays Al Jamous?

Being a Refugee
By Mays Al Jamous

Every person has a different experience
I can only share my experience
I am from Syria
I am a refugee
Refugees are
People who leave their countries
People who don’t have homes
People who face difficult choices
Refugees feel
Frightened
Confused
Lonely
Refugees hope
People will understand their feelings
People will not judge them at first sight
People will treat them like human beings
This refugee has
Dreams and hopes like you do
Feelings and heart like you do
Family and friends like you do
This refugee wishes
There would be no racism
There would be no discrimination
There would be no hate
This refugee is asking you to
Be Understanding
Be Unafraid
Be Loving
Every person has a different experience
I shared my experience
I am Mays from Syria
I am a strong refugee

Newcomer Issues
By: Sunny Sun

Many people have asked me the same question
What is it like to be a newcomer?
This is an ordinary question, however, it’s complicated to answer
Canada is a wonderful place
Multiple cultures make Canada more attractive
However, there will always be some issues and challenges in our lives
I believe newcomers to Canada will be perplexed by plentiful issues
In the first few days, weeks, months, even years
Everyone gets shocked by things that are new to them
Our worldview collapses and shatters into pieces
We learn new social contracts
Things that we were familiar with are gone
New paradigms are formed
Ideologies that we were taught get inverted
Things that were right, now become wrong
The origin of these problems
Leads us to the main point
ENGLISH
I have heard people say that English
Is the reason why newcomers get isolated
I am in total agreement with this
I believe 99.99 percent of conflicts or issues are related to English
The process of learning a new language is a long journey for everyone
Without English, you can’t communicate and you won’t receive any information
Sometimes not having enough English
Makes me feel like I am in a cage
It locks me inside and separates the world from me
Another problem that I think lots of newcomers will face
Is wanting to stay with people who speak their first language
This is something really common and there’s nothing wrong with it
Meeting new people is difficult
No one wants to be pushed out of their comfort zone
But one day you will have to make a friend who is a Canadian
The quicker you meet new people
The quicker your English will improve
The quicker you will feel belonging
Your friends might correct your mistakes
But don’t be shy, take advantage
Isn’t that what friends are for?
Making friends stops the suffering, the endless loneliness
Everyone will be proud of you
You will be proud of yourself


Sheldon-Williams Collegiate Mindful Creative Writing Course Video

Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina, SK offers a Mindful Creative Writing Course. The program focuses on bringing youth from different backgrounds together to share their stories. Students use mindfulness to better understand themselves and the world around them. One of the main goals of the Mindful Creative Writing course is to help students gain a better understanding and make connections across different cultures.

 

June is National Indigenous History Month

In June, Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month, an opportunity to honour the heritage, contributions and cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
On June 21, Canadians from all walks of life are invited to participate in the many National Indigenous Peoples Day events that will be taking place from coast to coast to coast. This is a special day toNational Aboriginal History Month, National Aboriginal Day, Indigenous, Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, MCoS celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Learn about Governor General’s Proclamation.
In 2009, June was declared National Indigenous History Month, following the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of Commons.
National Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity to recognize not only the historic contributions of Indigenous peoples to the development of Canada, but also the strength of present-day Indigenous communities and their promise for the future.
Celebrating National Indigenous History Month in June is an important tribute to the heritage and diversity of First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.
For more information and events visit: http://mcos.ca/indigenous-aboriginal-history-month/

Welcome Home 150 Pledge

Annually we recognize Canada’s anniversary. It is a perfect time to commit to the TRC Calls to Action and affirm our values of being welcoming and inclusive to all by taking the Welcome Home 150 Pledge – #WelcomeHome150
For more information: http://mcos.ca/welcome-150-pledge


Related Links

National Indigenous History Month
Celebrate Canada
Welcoming and Inclusive Communities
Welcome Home 150 Pledge
 

National Highway to Harmonious Canada Video

Multi-Faith Saskatchewan and Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan collaborated in the production of this 45-minute video to mark the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The project was supported by the Community Fund of Southern Saskatchewan as well as numerous cultural organizations, faith communities and volunteers. Access Communications donated its services in producing the video.
The main features of the video are the hopes and wishes by children of different faiths and cultural groups for a peaceful and harmonious Canada, silent prayers, cultural performances and the national anthem by all participants.
For more information about Multi-Faith Saskatchewan visit http://www.multifaithsask.org/. You can view the video embedded below and share it with your networks.



 

RMC and MCoS Offering Anti-Racism Workshop in ReginaMarch 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, MCoS, Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, Racsim, Discrimination

This FREE anti-racism workshop is for high school students from Regina and surrounding area. Registration is limited, so be sure to register soon!
Date: Friday, April 20, 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Cost: FREE
Location: Eastview Community Centre: 615 – 6th Avenue, Regina, SK
Register: Please download, fill out and return this form: Regina Anti-Racism Workshop Registration (doc)

A Rainbow of Culture in Rosthern

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Mayor Dennis Helmuth of Rosthern and Chief Roy Petit of Beardys Okemasis First Nation signing a Friendship Agreement in Rosthern, Fall 2017. This action taken by these two forward thinking and wonderful community leaders was nationally recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.


With immigration at an all-time high in Saskatchewan, creating welcoming and inclusive communities for newcomers has never been more crucial. When people like where they live, feel needed and valued, and are able to sustain a comfortable way of life, they stay where they are and draw others into the community. It is a simple equation that the town of Rosthern has taken to the next level.

We moved here because two of my friends already lived here and they told us there were good job opportunities. So we felt very welcome here, especially our kids.

Several groups in Rosthern have sponsored refugee families, and word of mouth tends to travel far and wide when someone is settled and loving the community. Such was the case for Josephine and her family who moved from the Philippines in 2010. “We moved here because two of my friends already lived here and they told us there were good job opportunities. So we felt very welcome here, especially our kids. We really like Rosthern because it’s a very peaceful place; people are so nice, very friendly, helpful, caring, trusting and kind. I feel like we really belong here because we are treated equally.” Approximately 20 separate Filipino families call Rosthern home among dozens of other newcomers, and that surprises visitors to the town. But Josephine says it is also the many amenities in Rosthern like the hospital, banks, grocery store, and restaurants that keep people here. “We also like that the school is so close to our house. It makes life here very convenient.”
The two public schools in Rosthern are made up of approximately 25% English as an
Additional Language (EAL) students in their classrooms. It is a very high percentage that has the children teaching the adults a thing or two about embracing every colour of our cultural rainbow. Picking up bits and pieces of different languages has become the norm for the kids, giggling and encouraging each other to try out new words. Rosthern also has several adult EAL classes run by different volunteer groups that reach out into the community to expand the experiences of their students on a regular basis.
A diverse community displaying multiculturalism prospers in Rosthern: German, Métis, Filipino, Ukrainian, Syrian, Burmese, First Nations, Persian, East Indian, Karen, and the list just keeps growing! Mariam, a Syrian wife and mother says that the expanding multiculturalism is one of the reasons they liked Rosthern so much. “We do not feel that we are far from our families, we found a beautiful country and beautiful people here.” For Josephine, successful multiculturalism means “… living or being in a place where there is harmony, unity, respect and peace despite our differences in culture and beliefs.”

For Josephine, successful multiculturalism means “… living or being in a place where there is harmony, unity, respect and peace despite our differences in culture and beliefs.”

With that spirit of equal partnership, Rosthern and their friends to the North at Beardy’s Okemasis’ Cree Nation, recently signed a Friendship Agreement to solidify both communities’ commitment to working together. Chief of Beardy’s Okemasis’ Cree Nation, Roy Petit, and Mayor of Rosthern, Dennis Helmuth, are setting an example of creating welcoming and inclusive communities and embracing multiculturalism that shines like a bright beacon of hope. A beacon that welcomes all cultures, and because of this, will accomplish great things.

Photo Gallery

This blog was written and submitted by Kate Kading