The growing awareness of racial inequality, highlighted by the likes of the Black Lives Matter movement, has brought the issue to the fore even on the home front.
With that in mind, Woolwich is hosting a series of webinars to help residents learn what exactly diversity is and how to better include people. The effort is led by Marie Malcolm, the township’s community program and inclusion coordinator.
“The Township of Woolwich is going to be hosting some diversity and inclusion webinars for residents in Woolwich or residents outside of Woolwich. [These are meant to be] an education opportunity to learn about what the difference of diversity is and how we include people. So, we do have a couple of webinar series coming between the months of February to May, that we will be focusing on work that’s been done by community partners, educators, as well as some organizations, to kind of introduce the community members to kind of continue to build upon their education,” said Malcolm.
“I think diversity and inclusion is something that with a pandemic or without a pandemic – it’s something that we always need to continue to learn… this is something that we want to continue on moving forward it just happens that we’re running them during a pandemic. I think it’s just an important thing to start getting conversations going with diversity and inclusion, especially with accessibility and how do we incorporate all into programming or community events or services that we provide.”
The first webinar – set to run tonight – is an introduction to the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. Malcolm says the aim of the first webinar is to simply introduce people to what these words mean and how they work together, while giving them “an opportunity to reflect and explore on how they can be more inclusive in whatever they do in their daily lives.”
Speaking during the first webinar will be Kimberly Lopez, an assistant professor with the University of Waterloo’s faculty of health. She says the webinar that launches the series will focus on the meanings behind equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“In this particular webinar, we’re looking at some of the equity-driven movements that have kind of driven these ideas to the forefront of our attention, specifically those around racial justice. So, the conversation that I hope to host later this week is called ‘All In,’ and I hope that people who attend this session will have questions about what is equity, diversity, inclusion. Why is it important? What is my role and thinking about these ideas? And how do I participate in supporting this movement? And how do we incorporate some of these concepts in our everyday life,” said Lopez.
While this is her first time hosting this for the township, Lopez has had many people reach out to her about covering the topic. She says often times, the questions she is asked the most include things like “how do I participate, how do I engage in the conversation?” She says she hears many times that people who may not identify with these groups that are pushing for change feel silenced, and that the ‘All In’ title means that we all have a role to play in the conversation.
The first webinar is set to run this evening. To register visit calendar.woolwich.ca.