Cowichan Valley Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) Network

What is it?
Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) is a provincial program that helps small communities collaboratively find ways to address incidents of racism and hate crime. Cowichan is one of 28 communities listed as OARH members in British Columbia that all have:
• An established community partnership of organizations or individuals that actively develop community capacity and skills; foster community engagement; and build community sustainability plans to address racism and hate.
• Have an agreed protocol on how to respond to an incident of racism in their community.
• Provide an annual summary of incidents of racism observed/reported in their community.

Click to learn more about the OARH initiative across British Columbia.

History
The Cowichan Community Protocol was developed under the auspices of CIS as part of the provincial program, The Critical Incident Response Model (CIRM) 2001-2008, an initiative that supported rural communities to develop locally-driven community capacity and skills; foster community engagement; and build community sustainability plans to address racism and hate.

The initial project, Diversity Cowichan (Sept/05 – March/07), piloted the Inclusive Leadership (IL) framework as a model that allows for a flexible approach to community engagement through youth empowerment, with a primary focus on preventative education. The IL framework can also be used to mobilize community responses to acts of racism and hate.

The CIRM program was succeeded by the Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH), initiative and the IL protocol is now under the umbrella of the OARH provincial network.

Where are we now?

As part of our ongoing commitment, CIS is continuing to develop the Cowichan OARH network. Many organizations participated in the development of the protocol and in the many projects and programs that have been implemented in Cowichan from 2005 to present. Many of these organizations are still involved in these programs and have signed on to the Cowichan OARH network. CIS is committed to expanding the list of signatories as Cowichan reaches for its goal of creating inclusive communities free of racism and hate, where everyone has a right to belong.

What does it mean to be a signatory of the OARH network?

Signatories of the local OARH network commit to:
1. Providing a designated contact person for their organization.
2. Providing contact information to the provincial OARH network, beginning in June, 2016, all signatories will be made public on the provincial and CIS OARH website pages.
3. Co-creating/supporting the development of the ‘Community Commitment Statement’, Cowichan’s pledge to stand up and act when incidents of racism and hate occur. **signatories can also state what they can commit to based on the capacity and mandates of the organization.
4. When incidents of racism and hate occur signatories will be asked to respond in accordance with the Community Commitment Statement and/or as defined in the organizations original commitment.

The benefits from membership in the local OARH network include:

1. Access to and invitations for staff, admin, board and/or members and clients of signatory organizations to educational opportunities such as training, workshops, and activities that focus on developing cultural fluency. *in-service workshops will be available dependent on CIS resources and programming at time of request.
2. A point of contact for relaying concerns related to racism and discrimination via the CIS OARH contact, Linda McDaniels at linda@cis-iwc.org.

The local OARH network will continue to evolve and offer opportunities for signatory’s based on the needs of our community and the participating organizations.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of International Trade.