Organizations across the province will have access to funding aimed at repairing and preventing damage caused by acts of hate.
B.C. government officials said applications for up to $10,000 will open for organizations such as places of worship, cultural community centres and at-risk groups, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The funds can be used for security equipment, graffiti removal and repairs to damaged property.
“Standing up to hate-motivated incidents and intimidation is always the first action and response by government when intolerance raises its ugly head in our province,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “That’s why we are supporting community organizations to enhance security measures and helping them with the costs of repairing physical damages when crimes like these are inflicted on the community.”
B.C. government officials said the funding will come from the civil forfeiture grant program, which uses proceeds from unlawful activity and redirects it back to communities.
Applications open on Nov 28.
The provincial government also announced the anticipated launch of a racist incident helpline.
Officials said it will be a trauma-informed multilingual service provided through BC211.
“It will offer a culturally safe platform for witnesses or victims of hate to report an incident when they may not feel comfortable contacting the police,” said B.C. officials.
The provincial government will use anonymized data to inform how and where to use additional resources to combat racism.
“Our communities are suffering due to a major spike in racism and hate being felt around the world,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “This is the time when we need to come together as a province to take action against hate. This helpline, developed in collaboration with community organizations, is trauma-informed and is one of the actions we are taking to address hate and support those who have been directly affected.”
The Ministry of Attorney General will also strengthen community support programs, which will enable the helpline to refer people to further support, including counselling services.
Story by Ryley McCormack, MyEastKootenayNow Staff