Diversity Thunder Bay
Year at a Glance
September 1st 2015 - August 31st 2016
Co-chairs: Rebecca Johnson; Walid Chahal
Secretary: Brenda Reimer (
Treasurer: Cory Jesseau
Diversity Thunder Bay met monthly with the exception of December, March (Celebration Breakfast), July and August. Meetings were chaired by members on a rotating basis. Minutes were distributed by email to all members.
Average attendance at the eight meetings was 14. This is the same as the previous two years. 30 of the 45 members attended one or more meetings during the year.
During 2015/2016 the Executive met in January and August to ensure that Diversity Thunder Bay was functioning in an effective manner in order to carry out its mandate.
The Executive met twice in January and twice in August.
45 members (31 organizations and 14 individuals). Our core membership is stable but there is always some fluctuation with a few members not renewing and new members joining. First time members in 2016 were: Children's Centre Thunder Bay; Thunder Bay Art Gallery; Stella Njogu; Robyn Pepin.
Diversity Thunder Bay annual membership fee is $20.00. In addition to memberships we have accumulated some monies each year from our International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination Breakfasts. Total assets as of August 31st, 2016 were $13,223.02. During the year we provided some financial assistance through sponsorship for Black History Month in February; the 2016 Respect Award; International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in May; and Pride Week in June.
During the year changes to the way our budget is laid out were introduced by the new treasurer. The administrative costs of the organization are now linked to the revenue from memberships. Monies raised through the Annual Breakfast are linked to our support of other community initiatives as requested. The form for making such requests was also revised and is posted on our website.
Projects and Committee Activities
With some help from Lisa Owens the website is kept current. The Education and Communications Committee chaired by Paul Berger is always interested in pictures and other items to keep the web site fresh.
International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination Breakfast
The 10th Annual Breakfast was held on March 22nd, 2016 at the Valhalla Inn. In celebration of 10 years we brought in Stephen Lewis as guest speaker. He gave a very powerful talk to the sold out crowd of approximately 500 people. Carol Rusak and Lisa Beckwick chaired the Breakfast Planning Committee and Pat Forrest of Forrest Marketing was again contracted as the co-ordinator. There were 18 sponsors for a total of $22,500. This increased sponsorship support was directly related to the reputation of the speaker and we are grateful that the wider community supported the higher costs of bringing in such a well known speaker. Despite the higher costs the Breakfast showed a small profit of $282.
Strategic Planning and Terms of Reference
Rebecca Johnson kept our strategic plan updated on a monthly basis. The original plan was put in place in 2011 and changes were made after a joint strategic planning session with the City of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism Advisory Committee in February 2014. During the past year the City of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism and Respect was restructured and so several joint committees ceased to exist. The strategic plan was revisited in November 2015. In addition to continuing the items listed in the plan we identified the need for a presence on social media and the desire to provide opportunities for education through workshops and community forums in addition to the March 21st Breakfast. We recognized that "One City-Many Voices" column is no longer a joint project but we will support the City of Thunder Bay Anti-racism and Respect Advisory Committee by providing writers and ideas for the column.
Education and Communication Committee
• Provided an educational component at meetings.
- September and January - Continued discussion of the 10 Commitments of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism
- November - Deputy Chief of Police Andy Hay and Sylvie Hauth updated us on what Thunder Bay Police Services were currently doing with respect to issues of racism and discrimination.
- February - Joyce Hunter from City of Thunder Bay Aboriginal Liaison Strategy updated us on the Walk A Mile Video Project
- April - Alison Bortolon, newly hired respect intern, talked about the respect program. Ayoub Ansaric, Safya Magomedova and Joy Wakefield from the recently organized Racialized Young Professionals group attended and informed us about their group.
- May - Lorraine MacPhail, City of Thunder Bay, explained the City's Equal Opportunity for Employment Strategy.
• Responded to public relations opportunities
- Distributed Frisbees and pens at Pride in the Park
- Advertised in the Pride Week Supplement
• Workshop planning
Disrupting Safe Space 4 Racism - Half Day workshop presented by Dave Cryderman.
Purpose to follow up on recommendations from Shifting the Lens event. To diagnose and confront the ways our community and the local online landscape are a safe space for racism, white supremacy and violence.
27 participants. Request for follow up on understanding white privilege/supremacy as well as for practical skills training.
The White Problem - Series of 3 half day workshops again led by Dave Cryderman.
30 participants with an additional 5 on a waiting list. A modest fee was charged for the workshop series so all costs were covered including a small honorarium for the facilitator. Based on the success of these workshops the education committee has been mandated to continue working with Dave Cryderman and others to offer more workshops.
City of Thunder Bay Anti - Racism Advisory Committee
In December of 2015 City Council approved a restructuring plan and a new name. Diversity Thunder Bay no longer has representatives on the City of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism and Respect Committee. Instead we will be one of the groups invited to attend a Round Table meeting annually. We will also be invited to participate in one joint meeting with the Advisory Committee annually to determine ways in which we can support each other's work.
Incidence Response Committee
With the restructuring noted above this committee no longer exists. However, an Incidence Response Working Group has been established to guide the implementation of the proposal for an online Resource Centre including a telephone line for the reporting and tracking of incidents which are discriminatory in nature. 211 North is a key partner in this proposal. Diversity Thunder Bay formally endorse the revised project porposal in September 2015 and is now represented on the working group.
Proposed launch date is now March 2017.
Working Group re Truth and Reconciliation Response
A group of DTB members have met several times to discuss possible responses to the Call to Action. One of the suggestions was a regional gathering but Diversity Thunder Bay does not have the resources to do this on its own. The working group is establishing contacts and hopes to be able to partner with others in the year ahead. A Diversity Thunder Bay initiative is that Dr. Marie Wilson, one of the commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be the speaker at the 2017 Breakfast.
Monitor, Network and Support
As part of strategic planning it was identified that Diversity Thunder Bay needs to keep informed about current issues and advocate and provide support and encouragement where possible.
During the past year letters sent to:
Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose of Nishnawbe Askin Nation on their election to office.
Federal Government hearing on Climate Change.
Sharing of information across our diverse membership enables members to be aware of events, activities and opinions beyond the mandate of their particular organization or sphere. This dissemination of a wide variety of information is valued by the membership.
Diversity Thunder Bay needs to network with other community organizations and show support for groups doing similar work in the community.
In 2015/16 this included:
• Participation in Black History Month
• Participation in Pride in the Park
• Participation in Pride Breakfast
• Participation on Thunder Bay Counts Agenda for Change (Racism Pillar).
• Participation in Social Justice Research Day, March 7th - a partnership between Thunder Bay Art Gallery and Lakehead University. One panel dealt with Reconciliation as a Pathway for Meaningful Relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the other with understanding Refugees in Crisis.
• Participation in the Embracing Inclusion Workshop presented by OneStep, a program of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
• Each of our co-chairs has made a presentation to the Racialized Young Professionals group. "Building a Community: RYP's 4th networking dinner was once again a hit! We profiled Lawyer Joy Wakefield and Professor Walid Chahal. Both shared a wealth of knowledge and experiences with the attendees.
• Publicized and attended a dinner sponsored by the Multicultural Centre at Lakehead University in support of a project during Ramadan to raise money for the regional Food Distribution Association.
• Publicized and attended a lecture by Dennis Edney, lawyer for Omar Khadr sponsored by Lakehead University Law students.
Memberships and Affiliations
Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition - Rebecca Johnson participated in a Webinar on Civic Engagement for Ontario Healthy Communities in March.
Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD).
Canadian Race Relations Foundation - Brenda Reimer responded to a request for stories and wrote of her experience with Diversity Thunder Bay. Her story is one of 150 posted on the Canadian Race Relations Foundation website as part of the 150 Stories Project. The stories will be printed in book form in June 2017 to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday.
City of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism Advisory Committee
Racialized Young Professionals
Lakehead University Department of Sociology
While Diversity Thunder Bay did not receive any formal awards or nominations for awards this year the Breakfast with Stephen Lewis generated wide community interest resulting in a number of new members and membership enquiries. Diversity Thunder Bay is becoming increasingly well-known and respected in the community.
Two of our members, Dianna Atkinson and Evelina Pan were nominated for the provincial J.S. Woodsworth Awards for Human Rights and Equity. While neither received an award they had the opportunity of meeting in Toronto with all the other nominees form across Ontario and of being two of only three nominees from Northwestern Ontario.
Year at a Glance 2014-2015