THUNDER BAY – respect.: it begins with you & me. Simple statements sometimes hold the deepest truths. It takes everyone to make positive changes for a more respectful community. The facilitation of a meaningful dialogue about the complex issues of racism, homophobia, and sexism requires the full participation of you and me – people of all groups. This initiative will only work with your involvement.
You may have seen the posters, buttons, bracelets and other materials around the city. The respect. initiative aims to do more than just promote respect over the short term. This 2013 year will be dedicated to expanding upon and implementing the five-year action plan to create a culture where respect is the foundation of our strong community. respect. aims to inform the public about the opportunities to embrace diversity, create spaces for an open and honest dialogue around barriers to diversity and come up with solutions that are community specific and take into account varied points of view.
respect is an idea whose time has come
[sws_pullquote_right]Simple statements sometimes hold the deepest truths. It takes everyone to make positive changes for a more respectful community. [/sws_pullquote_right] The respect. initiative has already made itself known by participating in a variety of community events this summer and over the past year. In the month of June alone, respect. participated in the Chamber of Commerce After Hours, ThunderPride, National Aboriginal Day and the Information Session & Community BBQ at Limbrick place hosted by the Limbrick Tenants’ Association. Through partnership with Leadership Thunder Bay over the past year, respect. has begun to move into schools to raise awareness about what respect. means for our youth.
The respect. initiative provides opportunities for myth busting, workshops, and most importantly dialogue between diverse community members. School-based actions will recommence this fall with workshops and presentations in educational institutions in Thunder Bay. In 2013 the work will be extended to businesses, with the development of a tool kit on how to implement the principles of the respect. initiative in the workplace.
Another city wide program you may have seen around town is Hate Divides a Community. Although the respect. and the Hate Divides A Community campaigns are separate, they are related in their intent to build a safer and more inclusive community in Thunder Bay, for all peoples. The partners that developed the Hate Divides A Community initiative aim to raise awareness about the fact that hate crimes occur in Thunder Bay; encourage reporting and monitoring of hate motivated crimes, and prevent such incidents from occurring by working to make discriminatory attitudes and actions unacceptable in our city.
Constable Larry Baxter, has been assigned to update training and monitoring systems for the Thunder Bay Police. The Hate Crime Awareness Committee is encouraging individuals and groups impacted by hate-motivated crimes to come forward and to contact Crime Stoppers if they have information about a hate motivated crime – for example, if you are/were a witness to a hate crime.
These city-wide initiatives are important because they mark a turning point. They acknowledge and act upon what many of us have known for a long time – that prejudice and discrimination severely impact far too many people in this city. Together, they are a call to action for change. Please join us in this call so that respect. is lived and felt by everyone who lives, works, plays or visits Thunder Bay. Visit the websites below and/or contact me for more information on how you can get involved.
Have information about a hate crime? Contact Crime Stoppers:
1-800-222-TIPS or www.tipsubmit.com