Kasari Govender, British Columbia’s Human Rights Commissioner. (B.C. Human Rights Commission)

Fear and ignorance have spiked racism in the province: B.C’s human rights commissioner

Kasari Govender has been virtually interacting with citizens in remote, rural areas to address concerns of discrimination

B.C. witnessed a spike in racism during the pandemic and “fear” and “ignorance” are fuelling it, said B.C.’s human rights commissioner, Kasari Govender.

“The spike in racism in BC was dramatic. It was a reflection point for us as a society,” said Govender.

People in Canada experience racism in all different ways, said the commissioner. And even though discrimination has been existing for a very long time in societies, the global movements around police brutality and racial profiling has drawn people’s attention towards racism of late.

“We find ourselves in a very important moment in the anti-discrimination movement and this has lent a sharper focus to addressing racism,” she said.

Since June, Govender has been hosting town hall via zoom to hear from residents in remote communities.

READ MORE : B.C. human rights commissioner hosting town hall via Zoom for Interior residents, organization

During these sessions, the commissioner told the Mirror that, a wide range of issues have come to the surface.

“We’ve heard different issues in different regions, some of them include inaccessibility to the human rights complaint system, difficulties in accessing the internet, discrimination in addiction services, inadequacy of income support and the issues of the active disability community among others.”

In rural areas, racism is often interlinked with economic concerns and some of these patterns, like anti-indigenous racism, are entrenched in the colonial history of Canada, said Govender.

“The solutions to addressing these issues are not simple.” But nonetheless, there is a need to “self educate” and have “uncomfortable conversations” about these issues.

Govender also said that her office will be launching an anti-racism awareness campaign across B.C.

The campaign seeks to connect with people on an emotional level to draw out and identify various degrees of racism–whether it’s an overt act or through hateful comments etc.

B.C.’s premier John Horgan has also asked the BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner to provide advice about how to properly collect, store and use race-based data across ministries to help inform government policy..

“Collecting this data is an important step to be able to address racial disparities and how they show up, so there’s a more systemic aspect of addressing racism,” said Govender

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

racismRural Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island All Candidates Meeting scheduled virtually for Oct. 14

‘our local candidates for the B.C. Provincial Election will be joining us’

Abandoned Neucel mill in Port Alice to cost at least $17 million to decommission

Removing hazardous waste and de-risking the site ratchet up bill to taxpayers

Growing food sovereignty at Klemtu

Greenhouse and grow boxes help create circular food economy for Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Gratitude is a great thing, what are you grateful for?

‘I want to say a heartfelt thanks to Steven Cahill for all his hard work over the years’

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Long-term care study credits fewer COVID deaths in B.C. than Ont. to funding, policy

The study was published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP solution to homelessness is to ‘warehouse’ people: BC Liberal leader

Andrew Wilkinson made a campaign stop in Campbell River and was asked about homelessness

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

Most Read