The local chapter of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation is sponsoring a full-day workshop on March 6 entitled Anti-Discrimination Response Training. File photo

Anti-discrimination response training coming to Courtenay

What can I say or do when I hear racist or discriminatory remarks?

What are my response options when I witness discriminatory behaviour?

How can I participate in creating a safer and more inclusive community through becoming an active witness?

In recognition of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21), the local chapter of BCCIC (British Columbia Council for International Cooperation) is sponsoring a full-day workshop on March 6 entitled Anti-Discrimination Response Training, also known as ART. Developed by Dr. Ishu Ishiyama – and recently adapted and enhanced by your local facilitators – ART uses a witness-centred approach to prejudice reduction. Participants will briefly touch on the history of racism in Canada, review and clarify relevant vocabulary, increase their understanding of racial discrimination and develop readiness and skills to respond.

This workshop involves group-based experiential activities to develop and strengthen “active witnessing skills.” Participants will review four levels of witnessing: (1) dis-witnessing, (2) passive witnessing, (3) active witnessing, and (4) ethical witnessing. Participants will have the chance to learn and practise a wide range of anti-discriminatory responses, as well as share some of their own effective strategies for responding to racism. This program is designed to encourage participants to shift from being passive or silent bystanders to becoming active witnesses in their daily lives and, in doing so, building a safer and more inclusive community.

Thanh Tazumi and Naomi L. Wolfe, who have designed and co-facilitated a variety of trainings over the past 25 years, will be co-facilitating the March 6 event. Thanh, who describes herself as “a refugee, immigrant, Canadian citizen, daughter, wife, mother, woman of color, Christian, Rotarian, foodie, hopeful optimist, and an empty nester, among other things” was born and spent the first nine years of her life in Vietnam. Her family fled after the American-Vietnam war along with nearly one million other “Boat People.” She lived in a refugee camp for over three years before immigrating to Canada in 1984. In 1987 her family moved to Campbell River. Thanh completed her bachelor in psychology and sociology in 1996. Thanh and her family all have first-hand experience with racism and its impacts. Thanh hopes to contribute in a small way to making our communities a little safer for those who have been and/or are marginalized and discriminated against.

Naomi is a settler Canadian originally from Saskatchewan. Having lived many years in the U.S. and Guatemala, Naomi is grateful to have spent the last 30 years living and raising her sons on unceded First Nations traditional territory near the banks of the Oyster River. Through 29 years of working with and advocating for immigrant, refugee and international students as an ESL faculty member at North Island College, and as co-founder of the Immigrant Welcome Centre (Campbell River), she has a deep understanding of the challenges and barriers faced by our diverse community. Naomi greatly values any opportunity to share her skills, learn from others, and collaborate in ways that enhance intercultural understanding, deepen our connections to one another, and create a more just and inclusive society.

The workshop takes place at Creekside Commons, located at 2202 Lambert Dr., in Courtenay.

Deadline for registration is Monday, March 2. The $30. fee includes snacks, coffee/tea, and lunch. To register, go to

For further information, food allergies, accessibility needs or help with registration, please contact the local chapter BCCIC co-ordinator at


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