A new tool aims to help create and advance anti-racism policies and initiatives in Surrey and beyond by mapping racist incidents on a map.
The Surrey Local Immigration Partnership is asking anyone who has experienced or witnessed racist incidents to report it anonymously through RAMP, a racism mapping project.
An event post says the data map was created, in partnership with PeaceGeeks, to “trace such incidents across the city of Surrey in order to map the types of hateful events that have taken place and the people to whom they have been directed”.
The tool allows a general report, an incident report for yourself and an incident report for others.
“The launch of this community map is in response to our strong belief that in Canada, racism against Indigenous peoples, newcomers and immigrants is a norm and must be proactively addressed,” the post adds.
Surrey LIP co-chair Neelam Sahota, who is also CEO of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, said the project had been underway for several years after hearing anecdotal evidence from social service organizations and surveys in the community.
“It was a recurring scene that we were starting to see, and certainly something that has intensified over the last few years,” she noted, referring to the increase in hate and racist incidents reported since the start of the pandemic.
“It’s been amplified, which is why I think we’ve actually turned it into action now. There’s no denying it anymore, these aren’t one-off issues, these aren’t incidents that don’t happen. produced only in one pocket as a region relative to another.
Sahota said Surrey LIP hopes that as many incidents as possible will be reported. The first step is to create the tool and the second step is to help the community understand why it is needed.
“Ideally we have as many of these types of incidents reported as possible and people see the value in doing so and they understand how to do the reporting and what are the possible dots that can be connected when they do.”
She added that the hope is that with the data and information collected, it could lead to changes in government policy and legislation.
“Not only will our federal government benefit in terms of its immigration policies, but provincially we should definitely see some synergy, especially with the creation of the provincial anti-racism branch,” said said Sahota, pointing to Surrey-Green Timbers. MP Rachna Singh will become the province’s first Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives in 2020.
Asked if the results of the map might shock people in Surrey, which is always hailed for its multiculturalism and diversity, Sahota said she thought so.
“We’re going to have our eyes wide open and I think that will certainly – in the short term – cause a sense of destabilization, and that’s usually a precursor to bigger change that needs to happen.”
She said it also gives context from the victim’s perspective.
“We all know it’s not something you throw away and say you had a bad day,” Sahota explained. “That something that often leaves very lasting scars and quite often creates a lifelong distrust of the community which is counterproductive to the work of the Surrey Local Immigration Partnership where we want to make sure we foster welcoming communities. .”
Although there are sometimes “a few brave victims” who will feel comfortable telling their stories publicly, Sahota said “the vast majority feel a lot of shame and stigma, even though they haven’t done anything wrong. wrong themselves to justify this. behaviour.”
But the tool isn’t meant to be sensational, she noted, but really to “get a sense of what kinds of incidents are happening, where are they happening.”
Brenda Locke is Co-Chair of the Surrey LIP and City Councillor. She said the new card will give Surrey Lip and other agencies the tools they need to deliver specific services, “whether from a police perspective, from a service provider perspective, services, it allows people to understand how this community operates, how we can help everyone, including people who are new … immigrants to the region, to Canada and how we can ensure that … there is fairness and that people are treated equally.
In late 2020, when Surrey LIP was already discussing the project, Locke recalled posters appearing all over Surrey referring to “white erasure”.
Those posters reappeared a few months later, she noted.
But Locke also said she thinks it will be a “shock” for some people “to learn the level of prejudice that exists, the lack of understanding often”.
“It’s easy for people like me who have always lived with white privilege, there’s no doubt about that, but when people, especially new immigrants, it’s so hard and we have to be sensitive to that.”
Surrey LIP is a community partnership that brings together a diverse group of voices “to build an equitable and inclusive city where all immigrants, refugees and citizens thrive.”
City of Surreyracism