Communities of Colour and Indigenous communities face a number of gaps and barriers in accessing support services and complaint processes after experiencing an incident of racial or cultural discrimination or harassment.
This can be as simple as not knowing who to call for assistance after being called a racial slur on public transit, to feeling unable to seek restitution after experiencing workplace discrimination.
In their 2012 report Healing From Racism: Mapping Anti-Racism Programs in Alberta, the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women summarized the difficulties with the chain of referrals that individuals often experience: “Sending clients to unfamiliar services and programs is frustrating for the clients. By the time they are in contact with organizations it takes time for the client to gain organizational trust and [it is] painful to share their story all over again…This results in resources, program delivery, and services being scarce for the victims of racism and discrimination.” More recently, the 2014 Come Together Alberta Conference report identifies exactly this situation as one of the biggest challenges facing institutional stakeholders: “those who need support don’t know about the supports available and how to access them.”
In response to these growing concerns and barriers, this project aims to advance the understanding of the challenges that communities face by systematically mapping the journeys of individuals as they navigate organizations and service providers. The results of this project will be shared with service providers, including the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the City of Edmonton, to better fulfill their mandate for all Albertans.
How This Initiative Fits with Our Priorities
This project will give voice to experiences that in many cases remain silent, and provide research insight into anecdotal understandings of individual experiences. The research findings will also suggest concrete ways to move forward in closing gaps and removing barriers to increase the accessibility of supports and services for those experiencing racial and/or cultural discrimination and harassment.