Pandemics arise when a virus is capable of spreading disease across a wide geographic area. Like the spread of viruses, racism in the form of verbal and physical attacks can also be virulent, traveling like pathogens through populations. As fears over the novel COVID-19 have grown, so too have incidents of harassment and violence against East Asians in Canada. While pandemics do not discriminate based on skin colour, racism does. We cannot allow COVID-19 to serve as a vehicle for racism or xenophobia.
We want to hear directly from you.
We are asking Canadians to share their story about experiencing or witnessing racism in our country during COVID-19. You can submit your experience through our online form. Share your stories in the means that best suits you - words, illustrations, pictures, poems, comics, videos etc. Once we have collected these stories, we will share them online through an interactive website.
Have you experienced or witnessed racism during COVID-19 in Canada? Share your story today.
Helping mitigate cultural appropriation through our racially conscious guide - making ethical decisions about consuming culture
Cultural appropriation or cultural ignorance can seem innocent at first. You can think, “What bad does this do other than offend people? Offending people won’t kill anybody.” While you are correct that offending people isn’t the same as killing someone, it is still very damaging. By culturally appropriating a culture, you are erasing the history and significance of that culture and those people. You are taking their culture and claiming it as your own, suggesting that the voices of those who have been oppressed simply do not matter.
While this sounds extreme, we encourage you to take a step back and think about it. Marginalized communities have, quite frankly, been to hell and back, and continue to do so every single day. From the beginning of colonization, Indigenous people have been abused, murdered and assimilated to erase their culture. Black people were forced as slaves, abused and lynched because they were not recognized as humans. Japanese people were separated from their families and put into internment camps, forcing them into hard labour with little pay. These are just a few examples. While Western society has certainly come a long way in regards to racism, discrimination is still prevalent today. Each of the groups mentioned above are still, to this day, not treated equally to white people. For many individuals in marginalized communities, their cultures are the pillars of their strength. But even then, internalized racism — sometimes known as internalized racial oppression — still affects many people of colour who are victims of racism. This subtle and systemic oppression can affect one’s relationship with themselves, causing inner self-hatred and confusion in all aspects of life.
Cultural appropriation can be embodied in many different forms. It can be done through your clothing, accessories, decorations, food and even the things you do. Not stealing someone’s culture and giving them credit for it — especially someone who is beneath you on the power dynamic — is a form of respecting the aspects of them that are culturally significant and giving them the power to decide what to do with it.
It is important to note that, if you are guilty of culturally appropriating a different culture, you are not a bad person. Instead, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about the damage that is done through taking someone else’s culture and claiming it as your own. More importantly, it is your responsibility to learn what role you can play in deconstructing racial hierarchy systems and work towards that goal.
It is possible to appreciate and participate in the diverse cultures around the world, and do so in a respectful manner. We are here to help guide you with our Racially Conscious Guide.
Cultural Appreciation Fair is an opportunity to learn about the diversity of cultures in our community and engage with them through educational discussions and respect. There will be numerous cultural booths, educational resources, performances, artist talks, free food and more!
The event takes place on Saturday September 28 from noon to 5pm at the New Horizon Mall (260300 Writing Creek Cres, Balzac - next to crossiron mills). If your ethnic/cultural community association wants to take part, please connect with us and we can further discuss.
This is a 2019 Culture Days event funded by United Nations Association in Canada - Calgary and organized by Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation.
RSVP on eventbrite
In an age of increasing political and social polarization, how do we understand the diverse and divisive viewpoints that are fueling opinions in Alberta? Through stories, interviews and information sharing, the Common Ground podcast explores narratives of hate and counter-hate to understand if we have any hope of finding common ground.
This project was created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation (Iman Bukhari) and MacEwan University (Irfan Chaudhry).
Our latest Research Study: Educators Perspectives of Multiculturalism and Racism in Alberta K-12 Classrooms
Racism creates a ripple effect of exceedingly detrimental impacts to individuals, communities, and the collective wellbeing of any given geographical or social region as a whole. Though all who experience racism are subject its negative and harmful effects, children are especially vulnerable to the consequences. Racism exists in many forms, including racially or culturally-based prejudice, discrimination, bias, stereotyping, or violence. In order to gauge the level of racism that school-aged children experience in Alberta, as well as assess teacher preparedness with regards to teaching multiculturalism in classrooms, we conducted a research project and subsequent report outlining the issues. The report examines race relations in K-12 classrooms throughout urban and rural Alberta, and measures teacher knowledge and preparedness in the context of educating students on multiculturalism and racism.
From August 2017 to June 2018, teachers were contacted in person and online to complete an anonymous survey that answered various questions related to the research topic. Teachers were also given the opportunity to elaborate on their responses through comments on the online questionnaire, as well as through in person interviews. The researchers received 150 responses that were later used for the purposes of data analysis and to compose a research report that was released to the public on July 22, 2019. Another purpose of the research was for the foundation to examine if there is a need to develop a K-12 resource hub that teachers could utilize in order to teach multiculturalism, anti-racism, and inclusion to their classrooms in the future.
Within the results, half of respondents surveyed answered that students at their schools do engage in racism. This result is significant as it supports the idea that racism is still a considerable problem in Alberta that impacts children and youth, whose brains, personalities, and identities are still developing. Further research results are outlined in the report.
It is hoped that our research results will raise awareness about the magnitude of the issues discussed, and that further steps will be taken in order to address racism among school-aged children, including future research projects.
Highlights in images
On June 16, 2019, the conservative party members from the Coalition Avenir Quebec, passed legislation known as Bill 21 which bans state workers from wearing religious symbols in a move toward secularism. The bill specifically targets items including hijabs, turbans, kippahs, as well as publicly worn crosses.
As an organization, Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation's mission is to improve race relations across Canada and to better support the diversity of our world through policy and practice. This legislation shows that our work must continue in collaboration until all forms of hate are eliminated. We disagree with this bill and condemn the acts of the conservative government for their acts of religious discrimination. While the government has stated that the bill upholds the secular identity of Quebec, we believe that the bill clearly targets religious minorities and their practices, forcing individuals to choose between their religion and their jobs.
Thousands of Quebec citizens, now more than ever, will be openly discriminated against and could be the target of hate crimes that could now be legitimized by way of this bill and its proponents. We have to all ensure we are creating a shift in our society to ensure all members feel safe and are able to participate, instead of creating division.
Drop by our interactive art installation during Empathy Week. Participants are invited to tie a ribbon onto a wall, on which they have written a wish or a prayer. This free event allows us to experience what others wish for or think about, in order to connect to the human experience and empathize with others.
This installation was inspired by the concept of tying wishes or prayers onto objects, which has been practiced in various world cultures and traditions for thousands of years. This event takes place during Empathy Week and is created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, Humainologie and Arts Commons.
Empathy Week is a seven-day festival of events which promote empathy, human connection and the recognition of our shared humanity.
Alberta’s first council dedicated to combating racism will bring expertise and experience to assist in government’s commitment to end racism.
The council includes 24 members plus Education Minister David Eggen, who is responsible for government’s anti-racism initiative. The council will advise government as it develops strategies to end racism and discrimination in Alberta. This council is the first of its kind in the province.
More than 300 Albertans applied to participate on the council. Members were selected for their demonstrated leadership abilities and experience in advocating for diverse communities. The council includes people from various faiths and other diversities, and members represent regions across the province.
Congratulations to our founding member, Iman Bukhari, for getting a spot on the council!
The launch of our Race Issues publication and meme campaign has been incredibly well received. At the launch of the event and 3 days of the exhibition, we had a total of 400 people come out and engage in the comic art, as well as speak and write about their own experiences. It has been a great learning opportunity for local Calgarians, especially youth. The online campaign has also taken off and we're hoping for it to go viral.
Help us spread the word by hashtaging #raceissues and sharing our images. Find out more about the project.
Our annual and national Anti-Racism Arts Festival will take place in Vancouver this year. This free festival is an opportunity for citizens to take part in anti-racism action through arts.
All events take place at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House - Annex, 3690 Vanness Ave, Vancouver, BC V5R 5B6
Take part in the festival today!
Over the past year, Artist (and our amazing team member) Eman Elkadri has been working on a comic series about the experiences of racialized youth living in Canada. Join us as we launch and exhibit her work.
You can expect to see 40 unique comics about microaggressions, hear from Eman about her inspiration, as well as hear from some of the youth she worked with, plus learn more about what you can do. We will also be launching the Race Issues publication (thanks to a partnership with ActionDignity Youth PLACE Program). This is a free event that is open to all ages. The launch will take place on Thursday January 3 at The New Gallery (208 Centre Street South Calgary) at 6:30pm. Refreshments will be served during the launch.
The exhibit will continue during January 4 and 5 (12pm - 6pm).
We would like to thank The New Gallery for their support and allowing us to use their space. This project has been created in partnership with Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and ActionDignity Youth PLACE Program.
Location's Land Acknowledgement:
The New Gallery is located in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The city of Calgary is also home to Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Find out more about the project here
Our members Iman Bukhari and Mansharn Toor are excited to present at the 2018 FCSSAA Annual Conference. The presentation will take place on November 29 and be focused on "Looking at Race Relations across Canada in 2018."
Learn more about the conference.
Content warning: there is use of a racial slur in the content.
De Mule Ah De World is a multimedia exploration of what it means to be a Black woman through photography, music and spoken word poetry. Spoken word artist Mel Vee interviewed seven Black women from diverse sexual orientations and religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds shared their experiences of womanhood and the shifting perspectives around the unique convergence of both Blackness and womanhood and distilled them into a multimedia experience.
Before Intersectional feminism became embedded into the feminist and social justice lexicon, Black American author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) spoke of the unique texture of existing at the bounds of multiple marginalized identities in her seminal work, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
So de white man thrown down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ad been prayin' duh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!
The above quote forms the intellectual background for this project and inspired the name. The metaphorical load that Hurston refers to is the unique position of belonging to at least two if not more maligned identities- Hurston was unapologetically queer at a time when that was almost certainly a death sentence. Huston in this quote begins to hint at the complexities of the Black woman's position in North American society as being at the bottom of the hierarchy, with the implications that Black women will serve and perpetually tend to the needs of others.
The mule is a potent and subversive symbol for Black womanhood. The mule, neither a horse or a donkey but a combination of the two, enjoys the privileges of neither but bears the burden of both. The mule is also a symbol of servitude and labour, known for its strength and ability to bear weight. Black womanhood exists in a state of precarity- racial justice struggles often center the Black male experience while gender equality struggles center white womanhood. Black women are often expected to cater to sacrifice one of our identities in the supposed service of a greater good, a good which has no qualms with our invisibility and silence. Neither male nor white, Black women are left to carve out our own spaces and define ourselves.
As an artist, it is my practice to center the voices and unique textures to the experiences of marginalized people. My new found desire to study photography was precisely to address the dearth of representation of Black women both behind and in front of the lens. I love and cherish the beauty of Black women and believe firmly in centering and showcasing our features, experiences and resilience from our own perspective. Too often, the bodies of Black women are exploited and put on display for the gain of others. It was the expressed design of this project to create a project that is by us and for us. Yet it is imperative for all types of people to hear and witness our experiences for the sheer fact that Black women's stories are human stories and are part of our shared humanity. To believe that the experiences of Black women are only relevant to us is to exclude us from the source of our humanity. Our stories must be heard and witnesses by all.
It is also my aim to subvert the narrative that Black people don't exist in Alberta. The majority of the women I interviewed were either born and raised or spent the majority of their lives in Calgary, Edmonton or Alberta generally. Our stories are the stories of Alberta/ Treaty 7.
Join us for our event in September with our newest team member.
De Mule ah De World is a multimedia exploration of Black womanhood by spoken word artist and emerging photographer Mel Vee.
Join our Language De-Coded event! This event aims to provide the public with tangible tools to tackle ableism, ageism, heterosexism, racism and sexism through our language. During the event, you will learn to adopt an inclusive vocabulary and promote others to accept, embrace and celebrate our differences. Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation will be launching their new resource guide and online app to tackle these -isms.
Panel members from diverse backgrounds and specialties will discuss their own experiences and tactics in tackling ableism, ageism, heterosexism, racism and sexism through language.
This free event is brought to you by a collaboration between Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and CommunityWise Resource Centre. This venue has limited capacity, so we highly encourage attendees to RSVP with an eventbrite ticket. A waiting list will be available on the day of the event, but we cannot confirm spots if it's over capacity.
We would like to thank the Calgary Foundation for helping support this event through the Stepping Stones grant.
CommunityWise is located in downtown Calgary, at 223 12th Ave SW. There is a ramp available to the main entrance, as well as a series of stairs and a handrail on both sides. Bathrooms are gender neutral and there is a wheelchair accessible stall.
Location's Land Acknowledgement:
CommunityWise is located in the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina, and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The city of Calgary is also home to Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.
Join us as we host World Cyclist and Photographer Kamran Ali, who is currently in Calgary, cycling from Ushuaia to Alaska. Kamran will talk about his cycling journey so far with visual stories of beautiful landscapes, human resilience, the environment and more. This is a great opportunity for cross-cultural learning as Kamran has travelled to many places and met many people along the way, gathering beautiful stories. After his presentation, we will also have a question and answer period.
Thank you to everyone who came out. We had about 200 participants of all ages and backgrounds. Here is a short video of all the fun we had. This event was organized by Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation and funded by Federation of Calgary Communities #ActivateYYC. Keep Calgary awesome!
A big thank you to Alberta's NDP government's commitment and leadership in addressing difficult topics such as racism. We recently had the privilege to sit at a roundtable discussion with Minister of Education, David Eggen, about Alberta's K-12 curriculum and how we can include diversity and pluralism in it.
Our organization will be releasing a research study about the state of race relations in Albertan schools in September with recommendations we hope the government will implement. And we are also working on a K-12 Multicultural Resource Hub that teachers can use in their classrooms. Keep a look out! Diversity is our strength, and we’ll keep working together to ensure all students see themselves represented in our curriculum.
Take part in our latest event - Calgary’s Audio Experience on July 21 at 6pm outside of Eau Claire Plaza downtown.
Wondering what an Audio Experience is?
YYC Audio Experience is a live event where attendees download an audio file and listen to synchronized tasks in a specific place at a specific time through earphones/headphones.
Here’s how it works: A week before the event, we will upload an audio file (around 45 minutes) that you download on your device (mp3 player, phone, tablet, etc.). Everyone meets at the specified location (Outside Eau Claire Plaza) wearing headphones/earphones, and blends in with the unsuspecting crowd. At the start time (6pm), everyone will simultaneously press play and that’s when the fun begins. A set of instructions will guide you and everyone participating through a journey of amusement. Laughter and confusion will follow as onlookers try to figure out what’s going on.
More information: bit.ly/yycaudioexperience
How do we define public art? Does it relate to our values or influence how we identify with our city? Perhaps it’s characterized by the relationship with artists’ process. Join d.talks for a discussion on the value of public art. Not the cost, but the ways that public art connects people to place.