Webinar to Discuss Racism, Discrimination in Guelph and Wellington County

The findings of a new study on discrimination experienced by city and county residents will be the topic of a March 21 webinar held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

The online event will be hosted by the Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (GWLIP) and by U of G’s Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) and College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS).

The promotional poster for Poster the Experiences of Discrimination webinar.
Promotional poster for the Experiences of Discrimination.

GWLIP researchers will present the results of their study “Discrimination Experienced by Immigrants, Visible Minorities, and Indigenous Peoples in Guelph and Wellington County,” and a panel of community leaders will share insights about the problem and its regional impact.  

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and researchers.   

“This event is an important opportunity to remind ourselves that the fight to combat racism is not over, and that members of our community frequently experience racism in their day-to-day lives,” said Dr. Byron Sheldrick, acting dean of CSAHS. “It is an opportunity to also come together in partnership to commit to fighting racism, and explore how we can work together not just to combat racism but to eliminate it from our community.” 

The GWLIP study, conducted in partnership with the Network for Economic and Social Trends, Western University and the City of Guelph, and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, aims to support the development of local, evidence-based anti-discrimination initiatives.   

The panel, hosted by Samantha Blostein, global engagement specialist with CESI, CSAHS and U of G’s Guelph Institute of Development Studies, will feature: 

  • Hoda Ghonim, Newcomer Health Programs, SHORE Centre 
  • Ingrid Brand, principal, Brand Intercultural 
  • Kayla, CEO, The Kween Company 
  • Sara Sayyed, senior adviser of equity, anti-racism and Indigenous initiatives, City of Guelph 

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was created by the United Nations in 1979 to highlight the importance of public participation, rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, protecting civic space, and the contribution of individuals and organizations toward preventing and combatting racial discrimination.  

On March 21, 1960, police in Sharpeville, South Africa, shot and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws.”  

“We live in a beautiful multicultural city,” said Blostein. “Once attendees learn from the experiences shared in the local Guelph-Wellington context, they can begin to think about how they can do better in their own lives.” 

The webinar will run noon to 1:30 p.m. and registration is required. A follow-up event April 21 will discuss potential community actions to address issues identified in the study.