The Sea to Sky Corridor would be an even more beautiful place if everyone living here felt like they belonged. That is the idea behind ‘Building Inclusive Communities,’ a series launching in January that is open to everyone.
Each session in the series aims to bring folks of various backgrounds together to discuss topics including multiculturalism, diversity and equity, immigration, and building a sense of belonging.
These sessions build on the events held earlier in the year for Multicultural Week.
It has been found that many immigrants and newcomers to the Sea to Sky don’t feel like they belong, said Habib Ly, a Squamish resident and Capilano University faculty member, who works for the department of community development and outreach at the university and in partnership with the Squamish Welcome Centre.
The topics chosen for discussion in the various upcoming workshops get to the core of what it is like being new here and what it takes to make a productive and happy life in the corridor.
By understanding each other, everyone benefits, said Ly.
He noted that people who come here do so for work, to study, or to find a better life.
“Each individual who immigrated to Canada comes with a story and that story is always useful for someone else. It is a life-learning lesson,” he said.
Immigrants are people who are deemed to be permanent in the corridor and who will be eventually naturalized as Canadians, Ly noted.
“So, we don’t want to be bringing people in and then letting them feel confused and intimidated until they are naturalized [but] dysfunctional, isolated,” he said.
“[That] is not just a burden on ‘our’ systems, but it is a burden on them too. They get hindered, they have a lot of psychological and emotional [trauma] going on, and it just adds up into a cost for the society. To prevent that from happening is to start talking to people and getting them engaged, and presenting them insightful information that they need,” he added.