RICHMOND—At a time when intercultural understanding is more important than ever, CUPE BC’s Committee Against Racism and Discrimination pulled off another extravaganza of multicultural entertainment and pro-diversity messages on Saturday (March 28), with the fifth annual “Include Me!” celebration.
The event, held this year in the city with the second largest Chinese population in North America, commemorated the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (March 21). “Include Me!” is a family oriented community event designed to promote intercultural harmony and acceptance while highlighting the rich cultural diversity of the host city.
In Richmond, the event got off to a thunderous start with the pounding rhythms of the Riverside “Beats the Rhythm” Korean Drummers. The small but enthusiastic crowd in attendance also enjoyed a couple of solo sessions from award-winning Metis singer/songwriter—and CUPE 15 member—Arlette Alcock, two mesmerizing bhangra dance demonstrations by 14-year-old international performer Heemi Bhatti, a colourful Chinese Lion Dance with drums by the Kin Fung Athletic Group, a high-energy martial arts demonstration by the Western Canadian Wushu Academy, and a walk down rhythm and blues memory lane with Johnny Fatiaki and his band.
After introductions from co-chairs and CUPE Equality activists Peter DeGroot and Frank Lee, greetings from CUPE BC Diversity vice-president (workers of colour) Jai Pratap and Diversity vice-president (aboriginal workers) John Thompson, and the Equality statement from alternate Diversity vice-president—and event organizer—Shehnaz Motani, the crowd also heard messages of support for diversity from several guest speakers.
Bringing greetings were Richmond city councillor Bill McNulty and Corporal Jenny Pound of the RCMP’s Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee, Hitomi Suzuta of the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ human rights committee, Dayna Skykes representing the BC Federation of Labour’s youth, education and apprenticeship and training group, Susan O’Donnell of the BC Human Rights Coalition, Meena Veema of the Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society, Archana Harit of Sher-e Punjab radio (and UBC’s CUPE 2950 diversity committee), and Victor Tang of the Developmental Disabilities Association.
As with all previous “Include Me!” celebrations, delicious ethnic food was served to all in attendance.
Photos of this event