Winnipeg's Mayor says there will always be more work to do when it comes to combating racism, hoping that a week of concentrated efforts will spark difficult conversations.
Mayor Brian Bowman is inviting Winnipeggers to take part in a series of anti-racism events in the last full week of March. This event is slated to occur online and will not be an annual event.
"I think as a community we have avoided having those difficult conversations and this week is intended to really encourage them," Bowman says. "Until we get to a point where no one feels like they are a second class citizen then we have to keep working at this as a community in an honest way."
He is hoping a week concentrated on this will make room for conversations, saying that one week will not solve racism.
In the weeks leading up to the City's events, the Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba is hosting celebrations of different communities such as Filipino and Syrian.
An immigration specialist is glad to see the city hosting this event.
"It is something that is incredibly important, in terms of our home, our establishment, about the start of our new life in a new country," Immigration Partnership Winnipeg's Director, Hani Ataan Al-ubeady says.
Loretta Ross, Treaty Commissioner with Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, says everyone picks up stereotypes, and it is not a target to certain groups of people, but instead says everyone needs to learn about each other. Ross says she and her family experiences racism as Indigenous people.
"You are afraid of when your child leaves. I have two girls," Ross says, saying she worries "for them to leave the house, because of the way they are going to be treated because of the way that they look."
Ross says despite Canada being the homeland of Indigenous people, they still experience racism. She says as a lawyer, people in courthouses would assume she was the defendant because of her skin colour despite wearing expensive suits.
In Canada, there are groups of people who are not welcoming to people of other cultures, creating harm to people who are not white.
"They see diversity as a threat," Al-ubeady says in response to white supremacy groups. "It is not acceptable to allow movements to flourish. In order for them to flourish they need space to be created."
He says this week gives voice to the opposite. Al-ubeady says condemning hate groups will need to be done to move forward.
"Racism hurts everyone, it holds our community back when our friends and our neighbours are feeling like they are second-class citizens," Bowman says.
Previously, city employees have both been perpetrators and victims of racism. Bowman says this week is focused on the broader public.
Bowman is calling other levels of government to follow their lead.