The Comox Valley Community Justice Centre is receiving $5,000 in supplemental provincial funding to continue its work to combat racism.
Last year, the organization received $7,500 to help strengthen anti-racism and anti-hate supports.
The Justice Centre is one of 36 organizations to benefit from $372,500 from the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. Funds are intended to address a recent increase in racism, especially anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous hate activity, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, there have been a number of incidents in recent years, such as racist graffiti that
appeared on the front doors at École au coeur de I’île in Comox.
“We prepared a statement on systemic racism, which we’re distributing to all the (47) signatories to our Critical Incident Response Protocol,” CJC chief administrator Bruce Curtis said.
Last spring, the CJC had invited its signatories to seek support to create anti-racism policies, but then COVID hit. The organization has since helped groups online and by phone.
“We’re getting ready to provide the support that is being asked for,” Curtis said.
The CJC implements principles of restorative justice. It supports individuals who experience racism if they choose not to file an incident with the RCMP.
“In many cases, the underlying cause for the incident is drug addiction, alcohol, poverty, homelessness, mental health,” Curtis said. “Sometimes those cases come in one way, and only disclose that there’s an element of racism or hatred subsequently. And sometimes they’re quite explicit.”
The Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network delivers co-ordinated services by connecting communities with information, supports and training to respond to and prevent future incidents of racism and hate.
The network has created multilingual videos to promote what to do if someone witnesses or is the victim of a hate crime.