FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
A coalition of community leaders have formed a working group to begin planning a series of dialogue sessions to address the theme of reconciliation and racism prevention in Nanaimo.
This was the outcome of a dialogue session held today at Vancouver Island University. In the presence of VIU’s First Nations Elders, those in attendance addressed the theme of “Rising to the Challenge of Reconciliation: Building a Stronger Community.”
Co-hosted by Snuneymuxw First Nation, the City of Nanaimo and VIU, participants included representatives from Nanaimo’s indigenous, multicultural, educational, business and public sector communities.
Further details on the working group’s membership and next steps will be announced shortly. However, VIU has committed to hosting the first public forum on the theme of reconciliation, tentatively scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 9, 2013.
Chief Doug White said today’s meeting “was a positive opportunity to build reconciliation and address underlying issues of racism.”
“It is clear that the incident from last week does not reflect in any way a large segment of our society,” White said. “The larger segment of our society is reflected in the diverse group of peoples – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal – who came together today standing shoulder to shoulder, who recognize that there is need to build understanding and knowledge to eradicate the issues of racism, which are ignorance and lack of understanding. There is also recognition that this isn’t just an Aboriginal issue. The dignity of all Canadians is at stake here.”
VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson said today’s meeting demonstrates that Nanaimo consists of a collective group of people who care deeply about the community and are committed to working together.