As CEO of ISSofBC, I’ve been proud of our long track record for serving and advocating for newcomer individuals and families marginalized by their cultural differentness and skin colour. I’ve seen us either taking on leadership of, or adding our voice to, actions big and small that promote inclusivity and eliminate discrimination and hate.

Sadly, in the recent weeks and days, even as we collectively battle a pandemic that remains unvanquished, we’ve had to witness racism inflicted in all its ugliness on individuals who look East Asian (in Canada), and tragically, once again, on an African-American who’s a casualty of the generations-old racial problem in the US.

My colleagues in the sector have spoken passionately about the immeasurable harm of bigotry and hatred, and the beneficial value of inclusivity and diversity. Many others in government and the larger community have shared that same message – that the inherent rights of every person includes life, liberty and security.

Closer to home, on a daily basis, ISSofBC staff of different races, cultures, gender orientation, and abilities, with the highest of standards and great compassion, step up to help newcomers of different races, cultures, gender orientation and abilities gain a firm foothold in their new home.

It wouldn’t surprise me if recent events of overt, destructive racism are affecting our staff –especially most recently – those who look East Asian. Canada, sadly, is not immune to racism, bias or bigotry in all its forms. If you feel victimized, please know you deserve the space to feel the way you do, and the right to be at the receiving end of understanding and compassion.

I speak for all your colleagues – we are here to support you. We care.

Patricia Woroch | Chief Executive Officer