March 21 Campaign – Racism: Recognize it. Reject it! #MarchOutRacism
March 21 Background
March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
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. Learn more about March 21
March 21 Campaign
Racism: Recognize it. Reject it!
Download the free Activity Kit
MCoS is running a provincial educational anti-racism campaign linked to the activity kit we created that features content about how to recognize and reject racism. We have also launched a social media campaign to accompany this campaign using #MarchOutRacism.
During March we invite members, partners, schools, workplaces, faith groups and the public to use the activity kit in creative ways and record the event with photos and video and post to social media using #MarchOutRacism. Learn about March 21 Campaign and Activity Kit
March 21 Events
Join events taking place around Saskatchewan focused on the recognition and elimination of racial discrimination. March 21 Events
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/
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
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.
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
People who leave their countries
People who don’t have homes
People who face difficult choices
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
Every person has a different experience
I shared my experience
I am Mays from Syria
I am a strong refugee
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
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.
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 Regina
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)
Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan provides opening remarks
Over 100 people gathered at Government House in Regina on Saturday, November 14th to celebrate and recognize significant volunteer contributions to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This annual flag-ship event for MCoS, is hosted by Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. It is always a joyous celebration drawing attention to the both the contributions and importance of volunteers to multiculturalism in Saskatchewan. This event is part of Saskatchewan Multicultural Week, proclaimed annually by the provincial government to celebrate the Saskatchewan Multiculturalism Act.
The formal part of the event took place in Sir Richard Lake Hall which provides an elegant setting for the program and awards. Her Honour and MCoS President, Bruno Kossman, recognized and appreciated the historical and current contributions of Saskatchewan’s indigenous people that are foundations for a respectful and harmonious shared future. In that vein, Her Honour acknowledged that we were meeting on land that is the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux and Métis and part of Treaty 4. It is essential to remember that we are all treaty people – we benefit as a result of the relationship agreed to over 150 years ago.
This year, the recent Paris terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis and were addressed by everyone who spoke at the event. Anti-racism
education and the importance of fostering intercultural connections were echoed through the speeches. During his greetings, the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, aptly summed up the current political and social climate by reciting a quote by Somali poet Warsan Shire from her poem “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”:
His Honour the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport brings greetings
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered where does it hurt?
everywhere everywhere everywhere.
MCoS President, Bruno Kossmann, touched on 2015 being the organization’s 40th anniversary and reviewed MCoS programming and achievements. He thanked all volunteers around the province that make multiculturalism a central factor to the vibrancy of life in Saskatchewan. In 2014-15, among MCoS members over 18,200 volunteers contributed over 358,900 hours of time. Volunteers and staff with different cultural backgrounds bring different ways of seeing the world which can contribute to more effective decision-making and problem-solving. He also introduced our 40th anniversary video to the audience who enjoyed the taking a journey in photos from MCoS’ inception to the current day to the music of Andrea Menard.
In the awards portion of the event, it was noted that all nominees were considered for the extent of their involvement in the five multicultural streams of work: cultural continuity, celebrating diversity, anti-racism, intercultural connections and integration. This year’s award recipients are both are incredibly deserving individuals. Particularly, their intercultural connections work facilitating different cultural groups coming together over time to build bridges should be noted. By coincidence and unknown to the committee, they share a friendship built through this very work and exemplary of it.
Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Janelle Pewapsconias, 2015 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award Recipient and Bruno Kossman, MCoS President.
MCoS Director and member of the recognition committee, Renata Cosic, introduced Janelle Pewapsconias as the recipient of the 2015 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award. Janelle fulfills many roles focused on cultural continuity within her own community of Little Pine First Nation and in Saskatoon – both of which are in Treaty 6 Territory. She is a strong single mother, a well-rounded advocate for Indigenous, social and environmental justice, an up-and-coming spoken word artist, entrepreneur-in-training, volunteer, public speaker and learner of her language. Janelle is the creator of the Neechi Life Games which are anti-racism tools. She participated in the 2014 intensive summer program called “Next Up: First Nations & Métis Youth in Action” (MCoS strategic initiative investment supported this program) where she was a strong leader within the group. Janelle – who is a budding leader and cultural keeper – is an ambassador of multiculturalism who lives out the multicultural values and her volunteer efforts are rooted in all five streams of multiculturalism. (Read Janelle’s full bio)
As an Indigenous person of this land, I recognize that there are people in the distress around the world and I welcome them here with open arms.
~ Janelle Pewapsconias ~ (excerpt from her acceptance speech)
Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Jebunnessa Chapola, 2015 Betty Szuchewycz Award Recipient and Bruno Kossman, MCoS President.
MCoS Director and member of the recognition committee, Muna DeCiman, introduced Jebunessa Chapola is the recipient of the 2015 Betty Szuchewycz Award. Jebunnessa’s life is dedicated to uplifting marginalized ethnic and indigenous cultures in the local and international arena and creating awareness about the barriers to achieving gender, social and environmental justice, and working within and across new media environments. She has participated in many diverse cultural program committees creating space for ethnic communities, and putting the committee organizers in touch with her community members. Jebunnessa’s involvement as a Cultural Connections Coordinator for the last five years with Ness Creek Music Festival is a prime example of cultural diversity and intercultural connections at work in the community. This program has received several investments through MCoS’ intercultural connections program. Her anti-racism and anti-oppression work is extensive and has had an impact on very broad social sectors. She has participated in MCoS’ Arrêt/Stop Anti-Racism youth leadership workshops for the past three years as a facilitator and was able to take the knowledge learned from these workshops and host additional workshops at Ness creek and in the community. (Read Jebunnessa’s full bio)
Volunteering and being able to share my culture with others has made me feel alive again; I have purpose once again in my life.
~ Jebunnessa Chapola ~ (excerpt from her acceptance speech)
The reception portion of the event took place in the Henry Newlands Ballroom, decorated for the Christmas season, providing both an elegant and festive atmosphere for the reception. Guests enjoyed cultural treats provided by Rushton’s Catering. “Cultural Treats in Context” cards adorned every table with explanations of the savoury, sweet and fresh fruit delicacies. The reception provided a chance for socializing and photos that facilitated intercultural connections.
A Celebration in Honour of Multicultural Contributions
On Saturday, November 22, 2014 the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan recognized all those who have made significant contributions to the multicultural community. The event took place in the elegant setting of Government House in Regina and concluded Saskatchewan Multicultural Week. The event consisted of a ceremony featuring the WeAreSK PSAs, speeches and awards, followed by a reception in the ballroom with a sampling of cultural treats. About 100 people attended the event.
Heather Salloum, Executive Director of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Mark Docherty, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, and Bruno Kossmann, MCoS President, spoke at the event. All spoke about how multiculturalism enriches Saskatchewan and the province’s commitment is demonstrated by the 40th anniversary of the original Saskatchewan Multicultural Act. Ms. Salloum delivered an eloquent reading on the real impact of volunteers. Finally, it was recognized that all the award nominees and the trailblazer who created the 1974 Act and the 1997 revision are leaders in the community and should be commended for their efforts.
Media were on site to interview the award recipients and Minister Docherty.
Multicultural Youth Leadership Award The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission presented the second annual Multicultural Youth Leadership Award to an individual who is 29 years of age and under and has made significant contributions to multiculturalism. 2014 Multicultural Youth Leadership Award recipient: Priya Kumari Bilkhu
Priya Kumari Bilkhu has been involved in Indian cultural activities since she was a young and energetic girl. With dance as a passion, Priya demonstrates an admirable willingness to learn, participate and share her Indian cultural heritage. Her pride and dedication were evident in her role as Youth Ambassador for the Indian Pavilion at Mosaic for 2 years. This afforded her many opportunities to interact with peers of various backgrounds and share her culture. She found it particularly heartwarming to perform for the elderly during “Bringing a Little Mosaic to You”.
The volunteer spirit extended to life at high school where she participated in the dance team, was MVP in grade 12 and has returned after graduation as Assistant Coach for the past 2 years. The leadership, team work and confidence built here also played a role in Priya’s involvement in Campbell Collegiate Business Club Executive Team where she found opportunities to combine her passion for multiculturalism with helping those in need in pioneering the multicultural lunch for Adopt-a-Family. She was part of a Bhangra dance performance for Multicultural Day at the high school that gave her the chance to show her peers where she is from and the beauty, the art and the fun of it all.
Priya is now a Youth representative on the India-Canada Association board and continues to enjoy sharing her culture and learning about others. Betty Szuchewycz Award
Each year, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan presents the Betty Szuchewycz Award for outstanding contributions to multiculturalism in the province. 2014 Betty Szuchewycz Award recipient: Nadine Williams
From a very young age Nadine has been an ambassador of culture, proudly sharing her own culture and celebrating the cultures of others. Nadine not only embraces her own culture, but she readily promotes inclusivity and multiculturalism as a means of bringing people together. For over 20 years Nadine has been steadily giving of her time as a participant, supporter, committee member, and executive board member of these organizations. By doing so she has helped to bridge the differences that exist among different groups, creating enduring relationships.
As an elementary and high school student Nadine participated in Regina Multicultural Council’s speech competitions for several years. Her speeches were aimed at educating her audience about the importance of diversity, and inspiring others to embrace multiculturalism.
Nadine’s commitment to culture continued with her involvement with the Saskatchewan Jamaican Association. (SJA). She has been an active member with SJA since the age of 12. She held the position of youth representative for several years, and has subsequently held the position of public relations officer on the SJA executive for the past 12 years, representing the SJA at media interviews to share information about Black History Month and Jamaican independence. Nadine is instrumental in coordinating Jamaican independence celebrations. Nadine also works tirelessly to coordinate Black History month events including a community breakfast, youth workshops and Gospel Fest, which now includes the Community Hero Award. The impact of Nadine’s work is seen in the sense of community, and in the individual and collective pride that is created through these events.
With the Saskatchewan Caribbean Canadian Association, she regularly volunteers at the Mosaic, serving as senior ambassador for the Caribbean pavilion at Mosaic 2014. She also actively promotes and volunteers at CariSask, a Caribbean festival held each July in Wascana Park.
Nadine has served three years on the Executive Committee for Saskatchewan Visible Minorities Employees Association, an organization that serves to promote equality and equal opportunity for all visible minorities working within the Saskatchewan government and Crown corporations.
Nadine’s interest and commitment to multiculturalism is one that started at a very young age and one that shows no signs of slowing down. She continues to devote countless hours to advancing multiculturalism. Culturally competent, she encourages, and supports her own children as well as all children and youth to be proud of their culture, to participate in various cultural activities throughout the city, and to value and celebrate cultural differences.