June 10, 2020
His Worship Mayor Naheed Nenshi and The City of Calgary Councillors,
The City of Calgary is home to an ethnically diverse population. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, over 30 per cent of our population identified as a visible minority and about three per cent as Aboriginal. However, racist incidents, crimes, and constraints continue across the city. The City of Calgary municipal government has created a few policies and strategies to promote diversity and inclusion, but our great city needs concrete and ongoing anti-racism action. We want to help the City in coming up with solutions.
The Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (CCMF) has created a petition asking the City to hold a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination. Within a week, the petition has amassed close to 70,000 signatures. We have also seen thousands of Calgarians rally in peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter and racial justice to show a societal fatigue of certain systemic occurrences and widespread desire to eradicate or improve conditions for Indigenous and racialized citizens, even during a pandemic. This consultation will allow Calgarians of all backgrounds to participate in the development of concrete solutions to improve the economic, social, cultural and political conditions of Calgary residents, particularly members of Indigenous and racialized communities. Calgary is a great city but we have the chance to build an even better one that is more inclusive, equitable and prosperous.
CCMF is a not-for-profit organization of volunteers working to improve race relations in Calgary and Canada. We utilize education, technology and arts to create cultural understanding and mitigate racism. Being on the forefront of anti-racism advocacy and multiculturalism, our foundation often works with ethnic communities on projects.
We implore the City of Calgary to hold a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination and be part of this important movement. Our recommendations for the public consultation are as follows:
We want a city that is proactive, instead of reactive. While there are no magic or quick solutions to addressing systemic racism, we are confident that holding this public consultation will provide much-needed guidance to inform next steps on how the The City can play an active and vital role in improving life for all Calgarians. Thank you for your consideration and our organization would be happy to support this initiative in any way you need.
Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation
The City of Calgary is home to an ethnically diverse population. According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 over 30% of its population identified as a visible minority and about 3% as Aboriginal . However racist incidents and crimes continue across the city. The municipal government, The City of Calgary, has yet to tackle the discrimination that these population face. We understand The City has created a few policies and strategies to promote diversity and inclusion, but there is no concrete action taken. We want to help The City in coming up with solutions.
Please sign this petition to be part of the movement to tackle systemic racism and discrimination in Calgary. We ask The City to hold a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination. This consultation will allow Calgarians of all backgrounds to participate in the development of concrete solutions to improve economic, social, cultural, and political conditions of Calgary residents, particularly members of Indigenous and racialized communities, and build a more inclusive equitable and prosperous city.
Please sign and share!
We get a lot of folks wanting to learn more about racism, but want to make sure the resource is legitimate and easy to understand. We have also seen a trend of shaming others for not knowing. We do not believe this is the way to creating positive changes. Here are some common terms to help you understand and become an ally. We use these definitions in our school presentations so they are easy to understand!
Before you understand racism, you need to understand race. But what is race? We sometimes hear people say race is a social construct, but what does that mean?
► Race has no basis in biological reality, therefore has no meaning independent of its social definitions. There is no gene or cluster of genes common to all blacks or all whites. Were race “real” in the genetic sense, racial classifications for individuals would remain constant across boundaries. Yet, a person who could be categorized as black in the United States might be considered white in Brazil or coloured in South Africa
►Although race is socially constructed, it significantly affects the lives of people of colour and Indigenous people, particularly in the West.
►The concept of race was created to establish a hierarchy in society.
Here is a great video that further explains this.
We often hear politicians say racism is about ignorance. But it's not just about social attitudes. Instead racism is:
►A system in which one group of people exercises power over another on the basis of race.
►A set of beliefs, false assumptions, and actions based on an ideology of the inherent superiority of one racial group over another.
►Consists of policies and practices, rooted in established institutions, that result in the exclusion or advancement of specific groups of people. Ex - discriminatory laws, residential segregation, poor health care, inferior education, unequal economic opportunity and the exclusion and distortion of the perspectives of non-dominant Canadians.
This is a term we don't hear very often. But it's incredibly important. And even more so, it's important to understand the difference between racism and racial discrimination:
►Racial discrimination can happen to anyone who is discriminated against based on their race and is usually an individual act. Racism is more persistent as it is not only an individual behaviour or act, but a way of thinking and is institutionalized/inherent in Canada.
►In Canada, anyone can experience racial discrimination but only people of colour and Indigenous people can experience racism.
We hear the word privilege be thrown around often, especially white privilege, but many people don't understand how they themselves are privileged.
►Refers to gaining benefits, advantages, and rights by default at the expense of others, because one belongs to the perceived “us,” “normal” or “natural” state of the “mainstream” and/or dominant culture.
►Privilege is not visible to its holder; it is merely there, a part of the world, a way of life, simply the way things are.
Here is a great exercise that explains white privilege.
Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups. Here is a comic book we made about daily racial microaggressions. As well, here is a great video that further explains microaggressions.
Do you know we all have bias? We create them from a young age to navigate the world. But what is a bias?
►A subjective opinion, preference, prejudice or inclination, often formed without reasonable justification, that influences an individual’s or group’s ability to evaluate a particular situation objectively or accurately.
►You can be aware or unaware of it.
Here is a great video on racial bias (note: there is a swear word in it, used once)
Stereotypes and Generalizations
We've heard many growing up, whether they are positive or negative, they contribute to a dysfunctional class system.
►A preconceived overgeneralization of a group of people, ascribing the same characteristics to all members of the group, regardless of their individual differences.
►Most of us fit into different categories and have a variety of interests. We might like watching sports but be non-athletic. We might like rap as well as classical music. But when we think about other people, particularly people who are a different race from us, we often have a harder time understanding that complexity. So we put people into categories and thus – stereotypes are formed.
This term is thrown around a lot. It's essentially how oppressive systems are linked together
►The experience of the interconnected nature of identities, and the way they are embedded within existing systems such that they define how one is valued.
►In other words, the interconnected nature of all forms of oppression against particular groups.
Now that you are aware of all this, how can you be an ally? It's important to understand the difference between and Ally and an Advocate.
►Supporting a cause that directly relates to you or affects you.
►Speaks out and takes action for change.
►Listens, supports and advocates, but is not in the spotlight or the loudest voice. Stands with and not in front of.
►How to be an ally:
■Understand your privilege
■Listen and do your homework
■Speak up, not over
■Apologize when you make mistakes
■Ally is a VERB
Want to learn more about racism?
In partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and PCCA (Pakistani Canadian Cultural Association) Alberta, thanks to the funds by Stepping Stones, a program of Calgary Foundation and Connect First Credit Union, we were able to give away 60 care packages to newcomer seniors living in Calgary. The two organizations worked together to identify low-income newcomer seniors that were isolated and needed care packages. This was done through a community call to action and phone interviews.
The care packages were put together and delivered with the help of volunteers during the month of May. We were deliberate in ensuring that the packages content were based on the ethnic needs as well as useful sanitation products for COVID-19. We also made sure we supported local businesses when giving out these packages by trying our best to buy only from local small businesses. For example we supported local seamstresses in getting fabric masks made, supported ethnic businesses with getting some food items and local breweries in getting hand sanitizers ,and more.
As well, we had local school children send cards for the seniors that we included in the packages. The packages also included in language information about COVID-19 and how to wash hands and stay safe during this time that were professionally translated. The packages were dropped off at the door and every senior who recieved the package was delighted to receive them.
If you would like to donate sanitary and health items (hand sanitizer, reusable masks, soap, vitamins c packets, multivitamins, tissue papers etc.), then connect with us for drop off location. Contact us here or email@example.com
We are also accepting cards made by kids to add to each package to bring cheer during this time! Contact for address / drop off location. Donations accepted for the next week.
Pandemics arise when a virus is capable of spreading disease across a wide geographic area. Like the spread of viruses, racism in the form of verbal and physical attacks can also be virulent, traveling like pathogens through populations. As fears over the novel COVID-19 have grown, so too have incidents of harassment and violence against East Asians in Canada. While pandemics do not discriminate based on skin colour, racism does. We cannot allow COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia.
We want to hear directly from you.
We are asking Canadians to share their story about experiencing or witnessing racism in our country during COVID-19. You can submit your experience through our online form. Share your stories in the means that best suits you - words, illustrations, pictures, poems, comics, videos etc. Once we have collected these stories, we will share them online through an interactive website.
Have you experienced or witnessed racism during COVID-19 in Canada? Share your story today.
Helping mitigate cultural appropriation through our racially conscious guide - making ethical decisions about consuming culture
Cultural appropriation or cultural ignorance can seem innocent at first. You can think, “What bad does this do other than offend people? Offending people won’t kill anybody.” While you are correct that offending people isn’t the same as killing someone, it is still very damaging. By culturally appropriating a culture, you are erasing the history and significance of that culture and those people. You are taking their culture and claiming it as your own, suggesting that the voices of those who have been oppressed simply do not matter.
While this sounds extreme, we encourage you to take a step back and think about it. Marginalized communities have, quite frankly, been to hell and back, and continue to do so every single day. From the beginning of colonization, Indigenous people have been abused, murdered and assimilated to erase their culture. Black people were forced as slaves, abused and lynched because they were not recognized as humans. Japanese people were separated from their families and put into internment camps, forcing them into hard labour with little pay. These are just a few examples. While Western society has certainly come a long way in regards to racism, discrimination is still prevalent today. Each of the groups mentioned above are still, to this day, not treated equally to white people. For many individuals in marginalized communities, their cultures are the pillars of their strength. But even then, internalized racism — sometimes known as internalized racial oppression — still affects many people of colour who are victims of racism. This subtle and systemic oppression can affect one’s relationship with themselves, causing inner self-hatred and confusion in all aspects of life.
Cultural appropriation can be embodied in many different forms. It can be done through your clothing, accessories, decorations, food and even the things you do. Not stealing someone’s culture and giving them credit for it — especially someone who is beneath you on the power dynamic — is a form of respecting the aspects of them that are culturally significant and giving them the power to decide what to do with it.
It is important to note that, if you are guilty of culturally appropriating a different culture, you are not a bad person. Instead, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about the damage that is done through taking someone else’s culture and claiming it as your own. More importantly, it is your responsibility to learn what role you can play in deconstructing racial hierarchy systems and work towards that goal.
It is possible to appreciate and participate in the diverse cultures around the world, and do so in a respectful manner. We are here to help guide you with our Racially Conscious Guide.
Cultural Appreciation Fair is an opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultures in our community and engage with them through educational discussions and respect. There will be numerous cultural booths, educational resources, performances, artist talks, free food and more!
The event takes place on Saturday September 28 from noon to 5pm at the New Horizon Mall (260300 Writing Creek Cres, Balzac - next to crossiron mills). If your ethnic/cultural community association wants to take part, please connect with us and we can further discuss.
This is a 2019 Culture Days event funded by United Nations Association in Canada - Calgary and organized by Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation.
RSVP on eventbrite
In an age of increasing political and social polarization, how do we understand the diverse and divisive viewpoints that are fueling opinions in Alberta? Through stories, interviews and information sharing, the Common Ground podcast explores narratives of hate and counter-hate to understand if we have any hope of finding common ground.
This project was created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (Iman Bukhari) and MacEwan University (Irfan Chaudhry).