Diverse voices help KPU mark anti-racism efforts

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Representatives from two different religions who came together in adversity share their story for the first time with a Canadian audience on March 21.


Students and staff at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will mark the U.N.-declared International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination tomorrow with multiple events featuring world-renowned speakers who embody inclusivity, diversity and equitable access.


KPU Richmond is hosting an all-day forum bringing together Muslim, Jewish and interfaith communities. In 2017, a Texas mosque was burned to the ground in an act of hate-filled violence. A nearby synagogue opened its doors to the Muslim community, providing a place for them to pray until their mosque could be rebuilt. Members of those Muslim and Jewish communities, Dr. Gary Branfman and Omar Rachid will share their story of interfaith collaboration and empathy for the first time in Canada at the Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond Campus. This event is a partnership between KPU and the Richmond RCMP. It is supported by funding from the President’s Diversity and Equity Committee.


“Inclusivity, diversity and equitable access are words that we live by at KPU, and indeed they are the very foundation of higher education and of a just and fair society,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “It is with those values in mind that I know this university is the ideal setting to invite dialogue and discourse from our community on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and to welcome our esteemed guest speakers – who epitomize cultural tolerance and religious acceptance – to our campus.”


KPU Surrey welcomes George Elliott Clarke, who is a former poet laureate of Toronto and Canadian Parliament and a pioneering scholar of African-Canadian literature, to discuss how to read the anti-racist Canada of the future. Clarke will join students, faculty and staff for an anti-racism walk around the Surrey campus. The day is rounded out by a KDocs (Kwantlen Documentary Film Festival) movie lounge screening of a series of short anti-racism documentaries throughout the day.


Shared Challenges, Shared Opportunities Forum

SPEAKERS: Omar Rachid, member of the Victoria Islamic Center, Texas, and Dr. Gary Branfman, member and past president of Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria, Texas.

MC: RCMP Insp. Baltej Dhillon

WHEN: March 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond (8771 Lansdowne Rd.)

INFO: This event is free and open to the public. To register, visit kpu.ca/shared-challenges.


The Foundation is Indigenous, and the Avant-Garde is Multicultural

How to Read the Anti-Racist Canada of the (Near) Future

SPEAKER: Dr. George Elliott Clarke, African-Canadian literature scholar, and former Toronto and Parliament poet laureate.

WHEN: March 21, 3:45 to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Surrey Conference Centre, Cedar Building, KPU Surrey (12666 72 Ave.)

INFO: For more information and to register, visit kpu.ca/AntiRacismDay


Anti-Racism Walk

WHEN: March 21, 12-noon

WHERE: Courtyard between Surrey Main Building and Arbutus Building, KPU Surrey (12666 72 Ave.)

INFO: This is a peaceful procession around the borders of the Surrey Campus. Participants are welcome to bring their own sign or placard. For more information, visit kpu.ca/AntiRacismDay


KDocs Movie Lounge

WHEN: March 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Surrey Conference Centre, Cedar Building, KPU Surrey (12666 72 Ave.)

INFO: Drop in to learn more about race, racism, and calls to action. Two informal workshops will be happening in between screenings: a Privilege Walk and an art therapy/calligraphy session. For more information, visit kpu.ca/AntiRacismDay