New West community celebrates diversity

IMG_0229New Westminster embraced diversity with open arms last Saturday at the New Westminster Welcoming and Inclusive (WINS) celebration at Century House Seniors Centre. Lion dancers, henna body painting, turban tying, drum circles and a community photography contest all highlighted the work WINS has accomplished over the last year.

“Saturday’s celebration was a very satisfying conclusion to a year of activities aiming to build bridges within the community and the workplace. The turnout of over 380 participants, including elected officials, businesses, service providers and a wonderfully diverse range of residents, aptly showed New Westminster as a city dedicated to sharing it cultural richness,” said Andrea Solnes ISSofBC ELSA Manager in New Westminster and WINS Table member.

WINS is a collaboration of community and immigrant services organizations and the City of New Westminster with the aim to create a more welcoming and inclusive community for immigrants and refugees. ISSofBC was involved in a number of projects over the last year including Saturday’s celebration.

WINS projects included creating more welcoming public spaces for immigrants and refugees, helping to build more inclusive workplaces and increasing community awareness and understanding of immigrant integration issues.

“We teamed up with diverse groups to strongly build a cohesive program to find the needs of immigrants and refugees,” said New Westminster City Councillor Chuck Puchmayr during his opening remarks at the event.

In addition to ISSofBC and the City of New Westminster, Douglas College, Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Fraser Works Co-Op Employment Services Centre, Lower Mainland Purpose Society, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Mosaic, New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, School District #40 (New Westminster), S.U.C.C.E.S.S and Western Society for Children all participated in WINS over the last year.

The celebration last Saturday, February 15 marked the formal completion of WINS with projects wrapping up next month.

View photos of the event

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