Anti-Racism Initiatives

Addressing Racism & Building Inclusive Communities

An important part of South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services’ (SOICS) mission to build more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable communities is to address racism, discrimination and hate through anti-racism initiatives.

Understanding Racism and Discrimination

Racism is a form of discrimination based on race.

Discrimination is when people or groups of people are treated unfairly or prejudicially based on race, gender, age, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.

Hate Crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property, which is motivated by the suspect’s hate, prejudice or bias against an identifiable group and includes verbal abuse/threats, physical assault or damage to property (as defined in section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada). Name calling, insults, displaying hate material on a private property or in public places are examples of hate incidents. If such behavior threatens a person or property, it becomes a hate crime.

The Reality in Our Communities

Data provided to the BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner from police services on police-reported hate incidents in B.C. between 2019–2021 shared in the From hate to hope: Report of the Inquiry into hate in the COVID-19 pandemic (pg30)

Racism, discrimination, and hate are present in every community across the South Okanagan-Similkameen. Data from the BC Office of the Human Rights Commissioner’s report, "From Hate to Hope: Report of the Inquiry into Hate in the COVID-19 Pandemic," highlights this issue:

  • • The total number of hate incidents was 118% higher in 2021 compared to 2019, increasing from 506 to 1,103 incidents.
  • • Hate incidents based on race or ethnicity rose by 102%, from 207 to 418 incidents.
  • • Hate incidents based on religion increased by 74%, from 122 to 212 incidents.
  • • Hate incidents based on gender or sexual orientation rose by 47%, from 66 to 97 incidents.

  • Take Your First Step Towards Understanding

    We know it can be difficult to talk about racism. It is necessary to recognize and address the presence of racism in our communities, to learn about and celebrate the diversity of our region. SOICS is here to support you every step of the way.

    Join an event to learn more about anti-racism efforts to learn how to become anti-racist.

    Register for UNBOX; the interactive anti-racism resource designed to educate and inform.

    Equip yourself with knowledge & tools to combat racism with the Anti-Racism Handbook.

    Access Our Initiatives and Get Support

    SOICS is committed to combating these challenges through our Respect Network, providing vital resources and support to those experiencing racism.

    Our initiatives include:

    Online Reporting Portal: Document incidents of racism and hate anonymously as someone who experienced it or a witness.

    Educational Sessions: Provide resources to community partners and individuals to foster understanding and inclusivity.

    Community Engagement: Host events and dialogues to raise awareness and celebrate diversity.

    Our Commitment

    In response to the rise of race and gender-based violence in recent years, SOICS released the following statement renewing our commitment to inclusive communities based on mutual respect and full participation of all people.

    Do you need more support or information about our anti-racism initiatives?

    Let's celebrate the diversity of our region and work together towards a more inclusive community!

    The South Okanagan is a diverse community with over 110 countries and territories represented.

    Explore our Community Champion stories to learn about the obstacles newcomers have overcame to find success in the South Okanagan-Similkameen.