DiverCity Victoria – by Team Bellatonia

Team Bellatonia used video to create a diversity awareness project titled “DiverCity Victoria”, in order to enhance understanding and inclusivity in our community. The project aims to help us to recognize, tackle and address our own biases, therefore promoting a more diverse and inclusive society based on mutual understanding and improved meaningful connections between people. 

The project was inspired by current political discourse, and concerns about the rise of intolerance and targeted hatred towards a few faith communities, as well as the stigmatization of immigrants, particularly in North America. It was also designed to build awareness around the team’s own experiences with discrimination. 

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”  by Thoreau

Five very diverse volunteers from various minority groups were chosen to be interviewed for the video, and were asked some, or all, of the following questions:

  • How do people’s perceptions of you affect you personally?
  • Can you describe experiences of discrimination in people’s perception of you?
  • Have you experienced a moment of acceptance with someone that surprised you?
  • How could people approach you in a manner that makes you feel comfortable?
  • How do you welcome and accept others?
  • What do you enjoy about living in Victoria?

 As well, the team connected with spoken word poet, Ann-Bernice Thomas, who created a wonderful poem that compliments the video as an additional resource.

Project Impacts and Future Benefits

The “DiverCity Victoria” video project will exist as an open user educational resource, which may be used in diversity training for Police, employees, and general use.  The project encourages viewers to “take a chance and connect”, and demonstrates the value and importance of embracing diversity and inclusion for all.

The Community Leadership Development Program and the DiverCity Victoria project gave the team the opportunity to learn how to navigate the community and collaboratively create an initiative that they are passionate about. Members gained leadership, project management and decision-making skills, and state that the program has been a wonderful learning opportunity, facilitating a better understanding of themselves, their community, members, its institutions; and how to create change.

The DiverCity Victoria video may not change the world, but we hope that it will provide food for thought for those who see it, whether they agree with it or not.  Perhaps the video will instigate discussion or a second thought when someone encounters a person they don’t know or don’t understand….”  Team Bellatonia 

Video links:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vctLudwDHzA&feature=youtu.be

Facebook:  @DiverCityVictoria

Twitter:  @DiverCityVic

Team Bellatonia: 

  • Damineh Akhavan
  • Nathan Cartwright
  • Gina Dolinsky, 
  • Ximena Londono
  • Maria Soriano Carrion

Coaches: 

  • Valerie St. John
  • Libby Rush

 

Video Interviewees:

  • Derek Forsythe
  • Moussa Magassa
  • Mrs. Addison Lee
  • Sanaa Amish
  • Sandra Glendale

 

Sponsors:

  • Saanich Police Department
  • Victoria Police Department
  • Leadership Victoria
  • Carver Creative
  • La Federation des Francophones de la Colombie-Britannique
  • Programme d’immigration francophone de la Colombie-Britannique

 

Supporters:

  • City of Victoria
  • Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee
  • Oddfellows Victoria Lodge 1
  • Greater Victoria Public Library
  • University of Victoria
  • Ann-Bernice Thomas of wildwomanpoetry.com 
  • Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health
  • Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society
  • Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Team Bellatonia would like to sincerely thank those interviewed, and applaud them for their honesty and courage in sharing their stories. They would also like to thank their talented film-maker (Andy Robertson), poet Ann-Bernice Thomas, their coaches Valerie St. John and Libby Rush, as well as all sponsors whose generosity made this project possible.


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