The Village of Keremeos put forward a policy Monday July 6, 2020 that details the Village’s plan to eliminate systemic racism from within. From left to right: Councillor Arden Holley, Councillor Jason Wiebe, Mayor Manfred Bauer, Councillor Sherry Philpott-Adhikary and Councillor Jeremy Evans. (Submitted)

Village of Keremeos looks to dismantle systemic racism

Mayor says the time is right to deconstruct racist institutions

The Village of Keremeos has joined the ongoing and widespread efforts to dismantle the pillars of systemic racism and oppression.

Keremeos council decided in a June 6, meeting to implement an anti-racism policy into their governing operations.

The policy was drafted with a desire to ensure that people are treated fairly by elected officials and village staff regardless of race.

Mayor Manfred Bauer said the timing was right for Keremeos to take action as discourse about the deconstruction of oppressive institutions and bureaucracies continues on a near-global scale.

“In light of a renewed focus on the issue of racism in the world, it is timely for the Village of Keremeos to adopt an anti-racism policy,” said Keremeos’ mayor of two years.

The village’s anti-racism also policy outlines principles, roles and responsibilities, and a complaint process for acts of racism and racial discrimination for elected officials, city staff and residents.

Under the policy, Keremeos’ elected officials and city staff are required to conduct all day to day operations and local government functions in a manner free of racism and racial discrimination; and “to respect the fundamental rights, personal worth and human dignity of People of Colour and Indigenous Peoples.”

In the eight-page document, the village acknowledges and recognizes the community’s potential at all levels for racism in all forms.

The village acknowledges institutional racism (or systemic discrimination) and defines it as “the institutionalization of discrimination through policies and practices which may appear neutral on the surface but which have an exclusionary impact on particular groups. This occurs in institutions and organizations, including government, where the policies, practices and procedures.”

In the document, the village notes the difference between institutional racism and individual racism, the latter is defined as “assumptions, beliefs and behaviours that stem from conscious and unconscious personal prejudice.”

The village’s new policy details how systems and citizens can reject racist practices. The policy also exists to hold elected officials and village staff accountable while showing that anti-racist behaviours can begin at the top of local systems.

The hope is that by instilling a plan to keep racism out of the village’s bureaucratic functions, village residents will do the same, said mayor Manfred Bauer.

“This should be common sense and on many levels it has been, but there still is prejudice towards people from certain ethnic backgrounds, religions, gender oriented, sexual orientation oriented. There’s all kinds of stuff in our society that I think needs to addressed.”

Bauer said the village’s new policy was put in place to make a statement to the public, both visitors and locals, that elected officials and village staff in Keremeos are committed to a “code” of treating everyone equally “regardless of their skin colour, religion or gender.”

In 2016, Keremeos’ census population was 1,502 people, according to Statistics Canada. Black, Indigneous and People of Colour accounted for .08 per cent of that population.

A copy of Keremeos’ anti-racism policy in its entirety can be found at keremeos.civicweb.net

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Floating concert to shake Shuswap Lake

Pair of bands booked to play floating concert at the Sea Store on Sept. 5

Video: New phase of Salmon Arm landfill progressing

Expansion expected to provide 20 years of landfill capacity

Defibrillator wanted for Salmon Arm pickleball courts

Club asks city to install unit in accessible location at Klahani Park

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Most Read