"Am I racist?" signs like the one standing on the west end of Salmon Arm are part of an anti-racism campaign launched in November 2020 by B.C.'s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. Hate crimes have been rising in B.C., particularly during the pandemic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Anti-racism workshop helps you shift from being a frozen bystander to an active witness

Over the past months, racism has become front and center in the news.

Many people are expressing outrage regarding both past and present incidents of racism and hate here in B.C. and beyond. And while we know that victims of racism can be traumatized by the inaction of bystanders, most people freeze up when they witness incidents of racism, often due to a lack of skills.

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The Comox Valley Chapter – BC Council for International Cooperation will present a 2.5-hour workshop that helps participants shift from being frozen/silent bystanders to becoming active witnesses during racist encounters:

• What can I say or do when I hear racist or discriminatory remarks?

• What are my response options when I witness discriminatory behaviour?

• How can I participate in creating a safer and more inclusive community through becoming an active witness?

The Anti-Racism Response Training Program (A.R.T.), developed by Dr. Ishu Ishiyama – and recently adapted and enhanced by this workshop’s facilitators – Thanh Tazumi, Naomi L. Wolfe & Sanchit Mittal – uses a witness-centered approach to disrupting racism. This training is designed to encourage participants to shift from being frozen or silent bystanders to becoming active witnesses. In doing so, we can disrupt racism and build a safer and more inclusive community.

Key Takeaways:

• Consider the impacts of being a passive bystander vs. active witness

• Gain greater understanding of the harmful impacts of racist encounters

• Review four levels of witnessing

• Explore four key categories of active witnessing

• Learn and practice a wide range of anti-racism responses and share some of your own

Virtual Workshop

This virtual workshop is highly interactive and involves experiential activities to develop and strengthen active witnessing skills. Over Zoom, we use a combination of chat box, slides, polls, video clips, scenarios, breakout room discussions and practice sessions, stories and readings, and whole group learning. Please come prepared for full engagement in the workshop by connecting via PC with video and microphone.

Register here for our March 25 workshop at 3 p.m.: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/anti-racism-response-training-art-tickets-139943951125. Then watch for a Zoom link and important handouts two or three days before workshop.

RELATED: Fear and ignorance have spiked racism in the province: B.C’s human rights commissioner

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