Photo Credit: Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria website
The City of Victoria’s Participatory budgeting initiative awarded $30,000 to the Inter-Cultural Association’s (ICA) Tools for Equity – Bystander Intervention Training. The program will provide anti-racism training related to bystanders to more than 500 Victoria and Capital Region residents.
The training sessions will include coverage of the history of racism in Canada, tools to understand how racism permeates social systems and institutions and an understanding of what it means to be anti-racist as well as how to support people of colour. The theme for this year’s budgeting initiative has been projects that benefit newcomers, such as immigrants and refugees who have settled in Victoria.
The Participatory Budget Initiative allows the entire community to decide democratically how to invest a portion of the City of Victoria’s Budget. This year, $50,000 in total was invested in a multitude of projects revolving around food sustainability, gardening, financial literacy, relationships between newcomers and Indigenous community groups and technology made to make the access to healthcare easier for newcomers.
This year’s citizen led volunteer Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee was coordinated by the ICA and was composed of 20 members and one liaison between the group and the city.
In a blog post celebrating their win the ICA stated “Many of us know all too well that racism exists in our communities here. Those who participate in ICA’s Bystander Intervention Training will benefit from this program that fosters understanding of racism and discrimination, the impacts on BIPOC communities, and how non-BIPOC people can learn to be stronger allies to be able to intervene when there are acts of hate in their presence.”
The ICA touched on the growing trends in racism such as a rise in anti-Asian sentiment due to the pandemic as well as horrible treatment of indigenous people witnessed in BC hospitals.