A Community Dialogue

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The Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society is hosting its second community dialogue titled “Building Relationships Across Difference” on Saturday November 14, 2009, in the Bowen Park Auditorium, 500 Bowen Road, Nanaimo. Sign-in and refreshments begin at 9 am, followed by the dialogue from 10 am to 3 pm with a free lunch. Participants must pre-register by November 9, 2009, by contacting Diversity Program Manager Terre Flower at 250-753-6911.

“Communities are complex webs of relationships; expanding our capacity for having relationships across difference is key to transforming our community,” says Maria Gomes, Human Rights Advisor at Vancouver Island University. “We are a diverse community. We live, work, and play with people who are different from ourselves. We are people of different colours, of different abilities, different cultures, different incomes, with different first languages, different sexual orientations, different families, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, immigrant and Canadian born. Together we can create a community that everyone can call home.”

Snuneymuxw Councillor William Yoachim noted that “Snuneymuxw Territory has been multicultural for some time. Before colonization, First Nations came to our territory. Then came the coal era and the area became more diverse. Therefore the Snuneymuxw people have been very familiar with creating relationship with people who are different from ourselves. Our people have a term ‘Nautsa mawt’ which means ‘all is one’  and that is how we have to live as a society, yes we have many different cultures in our society but at end of the day we are all one, living the four seasons, with the four winds as one.”

“Dialogue is a powerful way to learn about each other. It’s a conversation among peers to gain new understanding; a way of taking the energy of our differences and using it to create something new.” says Joanna Ashworth, director of SFU Dialogue Programs, who has worked with many community dialogues around the province. “We invite the community to join in dialogue, exploring the ways we can enjoy the richness that comes from relationships across difference.”