TORONTO, September 19, 2005 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is pleased to announce the winners in its biennial Award of Excellence program which has been expanded this year to six categories: Aboriginal, Community, Corporate, Education, Government/Public sector and Youth (organization and individual. The Awards program, which began in 1999, recognizes organizations in the public, private and voluntary sectors for best practices and innovation in anti-racism.
The overall winner will be announced at the Award of Excellence ceremony Saturday, October 22, 2005, starting at 5:30 pm at the Novotel Hotel, 3 Park Home Avenue, North York (off Yonge, north of Sheppard). Winners will share a total cash prize of $20,000.
The Centre for Aboriginal Media, ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, Toronto;
The Centre for Aboriginal Media (CAM) provides an accessible, encouraging platform for Aboriginal voices through the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival.
Bus Riders Union (BRU), End Transit Racism, Vancouver;
The BRU brings together multi-racial communities to build understanding of systemic and interpersonal racism and has tangibly improved the lives of the transit-dependent with an anti-racist approach to transit.
BMO Financial Group, BMO's Task Force Reports: 1991-2005.
Originally launched as a Task Force on the Advancement of Women, data revealed that work needed to be done in the advancement of the other three groups designated for employment equity: Aboriginal Peoples, People with Disabilities and Visible Minorities. The result has been a significant increase in the representation of these groups at various levels throughout the corporation.
The Aboriginal Circle of Educators (ACE), Winnipeg
Formed in 1987, ACE has strived to encouraged Aboriginal teachers in Manitoba, and provides support to school boards, to incorporate Aboriginal materials in classrooms.
Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Public Education Program, Saskatchewan
The Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC)created the public education program in 1999 to build greater racial harmony in Saskatchewan by improving public understanding of treaties signed between the First Nations and the Crown. The program created the Teaching Treaties in the Classroom resource kit, a Speakers' Bureau and a Learning Centre to inform the public, and is widely used across the province.
Mirlande Demers, Coalition Against Discrimination, Quebec City
A young Black woman of Haitian descent, Mirlande instigated the Coalition following the many racial slurs and offensive comments on radio station CHOI FM 98.1 in Quebec City and succeeded in having the CRTC revoke the station's license. The Federal Court of Appeal recently upheld the CRTC's decision to close down the radio station.
Access to Media Education Society (AMES), Peer Perspectives, Vancouver
This program uses youth facilitators and videos created by youth, and has succeeded in addressing the need for widespread, intensive, non-preaching, collaborative approaches involving youth to reverse the trend toward increasing hate, violence and segregation among youth in Vancouver.
The Youth awards were announced and presented at the launch conference of the National Youth Anti-Racism Network in March, but the winners remain eligible for the top award.
In addition to the finalists, the independent Awards Jury has also identified 20 submissions as "honourable mentions" for inclusion in the Best Practices Reader, a collection of exemplary initiatives against racism.
"One of the most remarkable things about the submissions for these awards is how they demonstrate, not just the creativity across the country, but also the depth of their commitment to tackle racism," observed Mary-Woo Sims, the Chair of the Awards Jury. "In many instances it makes you think of the power of one - that belief that even one person or one organization can indeed make a difference."
The four-member jury, selected from communities across the country, reviews the submissions which may be self- or externally-nominated. The submission - a program, project or strategy - must demonstrate a tangible systemic difference in addressing racism. Members of the Panel are: Mary-Woo Sims (BC), Zanana Akande (ON), Darren Lund (AB) and Idee Inyangudor (NB).
"The Award of Excellence program has grown significantly since the first presentation in 1999, and with the creation of the categories, we are able to recognize the range of significant work being done in various sectors of society," notes Dr. Karen Mock, Executive Director of the CRRF. "The CRRF recognizes that it is important not only to raise awareness and speak out against racism, but also to honour and promote best practices that provide concrete strategies to counter racism in all its forms. The next step is to increase financial support for anti-racism initiatives that have been shown to effect lasting systemic change."
Details of the initiatives of the winners are accessible at www.crr.ca. The category winners and 20 honourable mentions and their projects will also be featured at a "poster" session during the symposium.