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Free anti-racism training offered in northern B.C. towns

Residents of eight northern B.C. towns can apply to participate in the pilot program.
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Residents of Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Houston, Smithers, Vanderhoof, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John can apply to take part in a free anti-racism training program. Village Media file photo

Residents of eight northern B.C. communities are eligible to apply for free training on how to help defuse racist incidents through a new Anti-Racism Community Stewards pilot program, being offering by the provincial government.

Residents in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Houston, Smithers, Vanderhoof, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John can apply to take part in the program which aims to educate people with a passion for leading anti-racism work in their communities. Funding for the pilot program is available in a total of 15 smaller communities in the province.

"Over the past few years, we've seen an alarming increase in racist incidents in large and small communities throughout our province. We can't stand by and allow this kind of hate to proliferate,” Rachna Singh, parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, said in a statement issued last week. "This training will give people the skills and confidence they need to carry out anti-racism work and train others in their communities as we push forward to dismantle the systemic barriers that have held Indigenous, Black and people of colour back for generations."

The program is intended to provide participants with skills needed to train bystanders to address racist incidents and facilitate community dialog on issues like racism and discrimination. The program was developed by the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society

The deadline to apply online is Aug. 11. A total of 20 spaces are available in the program, which starts in October, and participants will receive an honorarium and travel expenses to participate.

Residents of the eight northern B.C. communities can find out more information and apply online.