Chatham-Kent's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Strategy

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent

This Website shares information about the Municipality of Chatham-Kent's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Strategy.

DEIJ Calendar

Click on the image below to view an electronic calendar of important days in July 2024. Click on the text to open a link to learn more.

If you are printing the calendar, please use Legal size paper.

Use this calendar to learn about days that are important to communities in Chatham-Kent.

Outside of the days listed on the calendar, people may have regular prayer or reflection practices. People may fast in various ways and engage in more intense reflection or prayer to commemorate days or periods of time.

Information about community events honouring upcoming days of significance can be found in the DEIJ News section of this website.

Please contact us if there are errors or days missing.



Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent

This Website shares information about the Municipality of Chatham-Kent's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Strategy.

DEIJ Calendar

Click on the image below to view an electronic calendar of important days in July 2024. Click on the text to open a link to learn more.

If you are printing the calendar, please use Legal size paper.

Use this calendar to learn about days that are important to communities in Chatham-Kent.

Outside of the days listed on the calendar, people may have regular prayer or reflection practices. People may fast in various ways and engage in more intense reflection or prayer to commemorate days or periods of time.

Information about community events honouring upcoming days of significance can be found in the DEIJ News section of this website.

Please contact us if there are errors or days missing.



  • May 5 - National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People

    May 5th is Red Dress Day. You're invited to a MMIWG vigil. Thursday, May 5th from 7-8PM. At the Bleak House 495 King Street West, Chatham. Prayer, smudge, hand drums, and guest speakers. Everyone is welcome.

    May 5th is a day to remember and raise awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people in Canada. This day is also recognized by many across Turtle Island (North America) as Red Dress Day, as people hang a red dress as a visual reminder of Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people who have been murdered and as an act of solidarity for families or loved ones of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.

    The day can bring up a lot of heavy emotions for people. Please keep this in mind as you go about your day. We acknowledge people that may be feeling deep emotions today.


    Inequities & Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls & Two-Spirit People

    Systemic inequities have long impacted and threatened Indigenous cultures, health, opportunities, languages, and traditional practices. Colonialism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism have been significant factors in the disproportionate violence against Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people.

    According to a report by the RCMP, 1017 Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people were murdered between 1980 and 2012. This rate is approximately 4.5 times higher than other women in Canada.[1]. However, many believe these numbers under-represent the true magnitude of violence against Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people, as they do not include people who are still missing, who were not identified as Indigenous during the investigation, or whose death was wrongly classified as an accident. Numbers alone don’t capture and tell the full stories of communities and families who have lost a loved one, and the trauma and impact that is experienced over generations. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities are all effected in diverse ways by these experiences of disproportionate violence.



    About the Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People

    As a result of the disproportionate violence towards Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people, Indigenous and Human Rights agencies have called for action for decades. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, supported the call for a national public inquiry into the disproportionate rate of victimization of Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people.

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls began on September 1st, 2016. The inquiry heard testimonies from over 2,380 families and survivors, Knowledge Keepers, government officials, academics, and legal experts. On June 3rd, 2019, the National Inquiry's Final Report was completed. The Report delivers 231 Calls for Justice for social and legal changes in various institutions at all levels of government, including municipalities[2]. Like many before it, the report calls attention to the need to honour Indigenous, constitutional, and human rights. And, it calls for a decolonizing approach – learning about and implementing ways of understanding and working that include Indigenous perspectives, values, philosophies, and knowledge systems.


    How Can we support Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People?

    Through our work to develop the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Strategy at the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, we are having ongoing conversations about our role as decision-makers, and as an organization in promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice, including pathways to justice for Indigenous people and communities.

    But, we all have a role to play in ensuring we are a safe community, for Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people.

    1. Review the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice. Page 29 of the linked document has Calls for All Canadians and page 30 has suggested resources.

    2. Learn about the Indigenous people, communities and Nations in this region, including their values, languages, and systems of knowledge.

    3. Take Indigenous Cultural Safety training. There can be big differences between Western and Indigenous knowledge systems, ways of understanding, and values. Popular online self-directed trainings are offered by San’yas and University of Alberta Faculty of Native Studies (free option).

    4. Speak up when you hear or see comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or that don’t recognize the inherent worth of all people more generally


    How can I Honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit People?

    Engaging in your own learning and un-learning is one way to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people. Taking action to apply your learning is even more important.

    On Thursday, May 5th, 2022 you can attend an MMIWG Awareness Day Vigil that will take place at the Bleak House (495 King Street West, Chatham, Ontario). Everyone is welcomed, and the vigil will include prayers, smudging ceremony, hand drums, and guest speakers. You may choose to wear red, but a red dress is not needed. Empty red dresses are hung to represent the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people.



    Resources:


    Read

    Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: Understanding the numbers” - Amnesty International Canada

    Final Report | MMIWG (mmiwg-ffada.ca), and other important transcripts, publications, and submissions.

    Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Action Plan, Urban Path to Reclaiming Power and Place, Regardless of Residency (mmiwg2splus-nationalactionplan.ca)

    The Government of Canada: Release of 2021 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan: Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People - Canada.ca

    Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and initiatives related to MMIWGS.


    Listen

    Finding Cleo CBC Podcast. The story behind one young Cree girl who went missing in the 1970s.


    Watch

    Highway of Tears documentary. About the missing and murdered women along a 724 kilometer stretch of highway in norther British Columbia.



  • Welcoming the La Rábida, Soul of Conquest: An Anishinaabe Encounter exhibition to Thames Art Gallery

    Bonnie Devine, 2021 Governor General Award-Winning Artist's exhibition La Rábida, Soul of Conquest: An Anishinaabe Encounter is being displayed at the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham-Kent. Along with Devine's exhibition, David DeLeary, originally from Walpole Island will be composing a special live choral performance on Friday, May 13th for an opening reception and artist talk.

    Darla Fisher-Odjig a local artist will be presenting her latest paintings and sculptures with Beneath the Mask and Lay of the Landfills along with a series of historical landscape paintings from the permanent collection as well.

    The exhibition is at no cost, and is open for all to attend!

    Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11:00AM-4:00PM/ Friday, May 13th, 7:00-9:00PM

    Opening reception with artists: May 13, 7:00-9:00PM

    Visit Chatham-Kent | Thames Art Gallery for more information about the upcoming exhibitions.

    Scroll below to learn more about the importance behind Bonnie Devine's nationally renowned exhibition. Hope to see you there!


  • New Exhibition Opening at the Chatham-Kent Museum: Tales of Fantasy

    Tales of Fantasy is a new exhibition coming to the Chatham-Kent Museum! The exhibition opens on Wednesday, May 4th, and will be operating during Museum hours 11:00AM-4:00PM.

    The new exhibition will allow you to "immerse yourself in a fantastical universe, through Quebecois, Indigenous, and Canadian folktales." Tales of Fantasy speaks to the importance of oral traditions such as story-telling and folktales and Tegosis, the guide, will bring you through stories of life's big mysteries and natural phenomena's!

    Visit Chatham-Kent | CK Museum to learn more about the upcoming exhibitions!

    Scroll below to find out more about Tales of Fantasy!


  • Register for the Diverse Paths Low German Conference

    Please click here to find more information for a half-day online learning opportunity for service providers. This online conference will provide you with tools and contextual understanding you will require to effectively interact with individuals of Low German background. This conference will provide a look into Low German Mennonite cultural values, and building awareness on how to better serve the community as a result of the pandemic as well.

    Click here to register:

    Details:

    When: April 29, 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

    Where: Online

    Cost to register: $10 ($5 for volunteers and non-profit workers)

    Please reach out if you have any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns.

    Thank you,

    Your DEIJ Team

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice on Municipal Council

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    Municipality of Chatham-Kent Council chamber with empty seats


    One of our three areas of focus for the Municipal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice (DEIJ) Strategy is to further DEIJ at our Municipal Council and Committees of Council.

    2022 is a Municipal election year. Because of that, on February 7th, Municipal Council passed a motion to promote becoming a Municipal Councillor, or a member of a Committee of Council, in communities that are under-represented on those groups. At that meeting, a number of Councillors volunteered to act as resources for people from under-represented groups who are interested in getting involved in local government.


    The Municipal DEIJ Team is supporting a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just Municipal Council by:


    1) Sharing information about how to run for Council.

    People who are interested in running for Municipal Council can submit their nomination forms between May 2nd and August 19th. If you or your organization are interested in learning more about how to get involved with Municipal Council, please visit the links below or contact our DEIJ Team before May 2nd.

    Learn more about running for Municipal Council here.

    General information about the Municipal election (including how to vote) is available here. A subscribe button will be available soon.

    Applications for Committees of Council will open in the Fall. We will engage in outreach again at that time. In the meantime, learn about Committees of Council here.


    2) Connecting people to Councillors.

    Have questions about the process of running for Council? Or, what being a member of Council is really like? The Municipal Councillors listed below have volunteered to act as a resource for people in communities that are currently under-represented on Council. Councillors are listed in alphabetical order. You may contact Councillors from any Ward (it doesn't have to be your own).

    Councillor Marjorie Crew, Ward 6, 519-436-3218, Marjorie.crew@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Joe Faas, Ward 4, 519-436-3208, Joe.faas@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Melissa Harrigan, Ward 1, 519-350-8254, Melissa.harrigan@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Mary Clare Latimer, Ward 2, 519-436-3207, Maryclare.latimer@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Brock McGregor, Ward 6, 519-350-2537, Brock.mcgregor@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Carmen McGregor, Ward 5, 519-350-3659, Carmen.mcgregor@chatham-kent.ca

    Councillor Trevor Thompson, Ward 2, 519-350-3715, Trevor.thompson@chatham-kent.ca


    3) Learning about barriers and facilitators to Civic Engagement

    The DEIJ team is gathering information to learn about what helps and keeps people in currently under-represented communities from engaging in Municipal Council, Committees of Council, and other forms of local Civic engagement.

    Please reach out to the DEIJ Team if you'd like to share your perspectives.


    We'd love to hear from you.

    Please contact us if you or your organization would like to learn about the upcoming Municipal Election or to talk about what helps and keeps people in under-represented communities from engaging in local government in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

    Thank you for working together to build a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just Municipality!





  • April 2 - May 1 - Ramadan

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    Ramadan Mubarak

    Ramadan Mubarak!


    Ramadan is celebrated on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This year, Ramadan takes place from April 2nd- May 1st. It commemorates the revelation of the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book) to the Prophet Muhammed and is one of the five pillars of Islam.

    Islam is a monotheistic religion (belief that there is one God, Allah). As with other religions, people who practice Islam (people who are Muslim) are diverse, with varying beliefs, sects, levels of adherence, and interpretations. There are over 1.8 billion Muslims globally, which makes up almost a quarter of the world’s population! This makes Islam the second largest and fastest growing religion in the world.

    Keeping in mind the diversity within Islam, during Ramadan, Muslim people all over the world renew their spiritual commitment and practice self-discipline, self-sacrifice, patience, and heightened virtue. Ramadan may be observed in many ways including fasting, acts of charity, reflections, and prayer.

    Ramadan often involves some form of fasting, from sunrise to sunset, for about a month. This fasting is known as sawm, which means to refrain from not only food, but also drink, evil actions, thoughts, or words. Sawm is one of the five core pillars of Islam. Before dawn, suhoor takes place, which is the meal before the fast begins. At dusk, iftar, the meal the fast is broken with, takes place. Typically, iftar is a social and communal meal where many will gather to eat together, and mosques (places of worship) will offer food to those in need.

    Ramadan may also be observed through prayer, charity (also known as Zakat in the five pillars of Islam), gathering with others, and reflecting on spirituality in relation to Islam.

    The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid al-Fitr. This is known as the Festival of Fast-Breaking and is celebrated over several days with prayer, social gatherings, gift exchanges, and donations.

    In Chatham-Kent, Muslim communities are growing. Chatham-Kent is now home to a Chatham-Kent Muslim Association and the Chatham Islamic Centre, which opened in February.

    As we work towards diversity, equity, inclusion & justice in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, we are striving to create a welcoming and supportive environment for Muslim communities, community members, and colleagues.


    During this holy time for Islamic community members, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak (blessed Ramadan)!


    Learn More:

    Muslim Advisory Council of Canada Ramadan Toolkit

    CBC – Learning More About Ramadan

    If you have comments, questions, or feedback about this post, please contact Rebecca Haskell-Thomas or Amrit Khaira.

  • April 2 - World Autism Awareness Day

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    World Autism Awareness Day

    April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and April is World Autism Month, a month to recognize and bring awareness about the experiences, strengths, and differences of people who are on the autism spectrum, their families, caregivers, and communities.

    About Autism:

    Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a group of conditions related to brain development that impact how people perceive, learn about, socialize, and communicate with the world around them. Approximately 135,000 Ontarian's are on the autism spectrum (Prevalence Rates | Autism Ontario). Autism crosses all cultural, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic groups, however, experiences with ASD are diverse.

    "If you've met one person who has autism, you've met one person with autism" - Stephen Shore

    Because autism exists on a spectrum, the degree to which people experience symptoms and the amount of support needed varies widely. Every person with autism has different experiences, strengths, and challenges. These are also influenced by whether people have co-occurring health conditions, the accessibility and relative safety of the environment people are in, and whether people have access to appropriate supports.

    Some people prefer to use the term neurodiversity to describe and normalize the wide range of ways our brain’s function and the diverse ways that people think, process information, learn, and function in day-to-day life. Considering neurodivergence or recognizing that many people are not ‘neurotypical’ helps us to think about how our communities and workplaces can include, support, and provide equitable opportunities for people on the autism spectrum to participate, be engaged, and thrive.

    During World Autism month, we recognize our community members who are, or who care for people, on the autism spectrum. We encourage community members to learn more about autism and how to support a welcoming and inclusive Municipality of Chatham-Kent that honours our neurodiversity.


    Resources

    Autism Ontario


    Please reach out if you have any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns.

  • March 31 - Trans Day of Visibility

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    International Transgender Day of Visibility March 31On March 31st, Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) is observed around the world to celebrate the lives, contributions, and activism of Trans people. The day was founded in 2009 by transgender activist Rachel Crandell of Michigan, who wanted to acknowledge and celebrate transgender people. Although Trans and Two Spirit* people continue to face barriers and discrimination, Trans Day of Visibility is a day for us to recognize, honour, and celebrate the ways in which Trans and Two Spirit people enrich our communities.

    We envision a Municipality of Chatham-Kent where everyone feels able to live their authentic selves. We can support Trans and Two Spirit people in our Municipality, our families, and in our community to live authentically by:

    1. Assuming there are Trans and Two Spirit people in our community.

    2. Educating ourselves about Trans and Two Spirit people and communities, including accomplishments and barriers people and communities have experienced (see the links at the bottom of this post). Trans and Two Spirit people have existed across cultures and throughout history, and there is great diversity within Trans and Two Spirit communities.

    3. Using inclusive terminology and language when asking or talking about sex or gender i.e. Say ‘person in the green shirt’ vs ‘woman in the front’.


    Today, and every day, we acknowledge, appreciate, and honour Trans and Two Spirit members of our community!





    Resources:

    Trans Wellness Ontario

    Located in Windsor. Support Transgender, Genderqueer, Two-Spirit, Non-Binary, Queer and Questioning communities and families.

    Sign up for an evening virtual Trans Day of Visibility event here.

    See their ‘Resources’ section for education materials, including a glossary of terms.

    Facebook or Instagram.


    Rainbow Health

    Resources for healthcare system, but relevant for many sectors.


    Trans LifeLine

    A grassroots hotline run by and for Trans people offering direct support to Trans people who are in crisis.


    Queer Events

    Learn more about Trans community members and Trans justice milestones in Canada.


    Egale Canada

    Trans Day of Visibility resources, including resources on inclusive and affirming language.


    CK Pride

    Bring together members of Two Spirit, Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer communities within Chatham-Kent.


    *Trans can be used as a term for people whose gender identity is different than what was assigned at birth. Trans can also be used as an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as ‘cisgender’. People can use many different terms to describe their sense of gender and there are a number of other terms that carry cultural and historical roots in communities. For more information, see the links above.

    Two Spirit is a term used by some Indigenous and First Nations people to describe having both a male and female spirit within them. The term reflects understandings of gender, gender roles, spirituality, and the history of sexual and gender diversity in Indigenous cultures. Traditionally, Two Spirit people held significant cultural roles in Indigenous communities.

  • March 25 - International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

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    Most enslaved people were taken from Africa to North and South America. Smaller slave trade routes took people from Africa to Europe and the Caribbean.


    March 25th marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

    For over 400 years, more than 18 million people, including children, were forcefully removed from Africa to the Americas (including Canada) and Europe. For those who survived the horrific passage, thousands would later perish as a result of the cruel and inhumane ways they were treated and conditions they lived in.[1] Although we often hear about slavery in the context of the United States, African people who were enslaved were brought to Canada from the earliest days of Colonial settlements.

    In commemoration and memory of the victims, in 2007, the United Nations established the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and called on member Countries to use the day to promote understanding of the causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade. The day is also meant to recognize the heroic actions of people who were enslaved and abolitionists who lived, resisted, and acted in the face of grave danger and adversity.

    On March 25th, and every day, we recognize and remember:

    • the people who suffered, sacrificed, and experienced the horrors of slavery for all of our freedom
    • the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade that continue to impact the descendants of victims including ongoing social, cultural, economic and health inequities
    • the ongoing existence and potential impacts of racism, prejudice, and inequities
    • the resistance and resilience of racialized people, families, and communities
    • the modern forms of slavery, forced labour, and human trafficking that people across the World, including in Canada, continue to experience


    We encourage community members to learn about the transatlantic slave trade, the challenges people escaping the slave trade faced in our area, and the resilience of racialized and, in particular, people and communities of African heritage who played a large role in shaping Chatham-Kent by visiting:

    Buxton National Historic Site & Museum

    Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum

    Let Us March on Till Victory Is Won: The Struggle for Racial Equity in Chatham-Kent and Ontario Exhibit

    Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site


    Learn more about the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade:

    UNESCO Slave Route Project

    The Ark of Return Memorial


    If you have any feedback, questions, or comments about this post, please contact Rebecca Haskell-Thomas rebeccah@chatham-kent.ca or Amrit Khaira amritk@chatham-kent.ca.


    [1] United Nations. Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations. Permanent Memorial | International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 25 March (un.org)


  • March 20 - International Francophonie Day

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    International FrancopFrancophoniehonie Day (Journée internationale de la Francophonie) is observed every March 20th to celebrate the French language and Francophone culture.

    The International Day of La Francophonie is an opportunity to highlight the beauty of the Canadian Francophonie in all its richness and diversity as well as its traditions that continue to shape identities.

    Created in 1988, the date celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on 20 March 1970. The Convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie, an international organization representing countries and regions where French is a customary language, where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers), or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture. The organization comprises 88 member states and governments, including Canada.

    Chatham-Kent is home to a vibrant francophone population. In the 2016 Census, 7% of Chatham-Kent community members said they spoke both French and English, and 3% identified French as their mother tongue. In fact, Tilbury and Dover areas are Francophone designated areas under the French Language Services Act, indicating that the province strives to offer services in English and French.

    We wish all of our Francophone colleagues and community members Joyeuse Journée internationale de la Francophonie!


    Have comments, concerns, or feedback about this post? Please reach out to Rebecca or Amrit.

Page last updated: 18 Jul 2024, 03:44 PM