Toronto, 8 March 2021
In celebration of Canada’s rich diversity, the Government of Canada is funding the Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience, an event and multimedia campaign by Skills for Change to champion racialized newcomer, immigrant and refugee women, as well as mobilize support for their successful integration into Canadian society.
“Our commitment to combating all forms of racism and discrimination is unwavering,” said Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. “This important project will mobilize support for racialized newcomer, immigrant, and refugee women and give them a platform to be heard and share their stories.”
Welcoming the funding and collaboration with the Government of Canada, Surranna Sandy, CEO of Skills for Change, remarked, “We greatly appreciate the Government of Canada’s support to fund the Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience project especially at this critical juncture where we have been leading conversations with community partners to uplift racialized women who have suffered unduly because of the COVID-19 pandemic”. She added, “Skills for Change will proactively engage the community, help racialized women communities to reconnect in new ways, and pay tribute and celebrate the tremendous achievements that racialized women have attained as well as uplifting them with a message of hope, recovery, reconciliation, peace and unity to advance as one strong interconnected Canada.”
The “Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience” project will focus on amplifying the voices of 20 racialized women. On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the event will be held on 9th March 2021 to promote intercultural understanding of Black women and women of colour communities while celebrating their unique heritage and culture in respective ways, contributing to more awareness raising on Canada’s rich diverse and inclusive society.
The project seeks to establish a reliable and safe knowledge sharing platform for 20 racialized women to tell their own authentic stories, highlight their unique challenges, and the context and culture of their lived experiences. The project recognizes how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Black women and women of colour the most, disrupting their careers and their ability to contribute to the workforce. These women, and in particular, the racialized newcomers, immigrants and refugees have borne the catastrophic brunt of the pandemic in Canada, which has shed a spotlight on all inequities and exacerbated the already long-standing systemic barriers through the glare of systemic racism and related inequities with employment, income, healthcare, housing, food and resources. Recent research has also found that Black women and women of colour were more likely to be laid off or furloughed, while working mothers were picking up more of the childcare and household responsibilities.
The event and the subsequent multimedia campaign seeks to raise more awareness on the different needs of racialized women and aims to channel an inclusive approach with a unique platform for their voices to be heard and a call to action to ensure that they are not left behind as the national rebuilding process commences. The project provides an opportunity to unite Canadians, advance a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient Canada through ongoing dialogue, reflection and collaborative learning addressing Anti-Racism, and in particular Anti-Black Racism. The project will foster discussions on innovative approaches to tackling racism, enlightening the mindset among white allies after hearing first hand experiences and create a community of women who uplift each other especially when faced with adversity. This presents an opening to reset, to rebuild a fairer, more equitable, inclusive and resilient nation, a recovery that celebrates Canada’s growing diversity.
Recent global and national movements and trends highlight the added value in promoting diverse narratives and resources to support Black women and women of Colour. And yet, there is still a gap when it comes to ensuring that these women are part of this discussion and are able to shape the big conversation and serve as role models for other racialized women, and the larger community. The Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience project seeks to plug this gap and start a vibrant new discussion about celebrating inclusivity, diversity and multiculturalism in Canada.
For over 38 years, Skills for Change has supported the integration and well-being of immigrants and refugees in Canada. For more information, please visit www.skillsforchange.org, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
And for more information about the Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience, please contact Justine Namara, Associate Director, Programs and Strategic Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org