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Diverse groups attend forum

Second annual event well-attended by ‘eclectic cross-section’ of diverse community

CELEBRATING DIVERSITY: Pushpmit Kaur, left, and Constable Don Yirenki check out information from Monica Auerbach from Jewish Family and Child Services at the Vaughan Diversity Workshop on Nov. 16. Photo by Flo Da Silva/Vaughan Today

The City of Vaughan showed its multicultural stripes last week by talking diversity and equity issues with its citizens.

The Community Equity and Diversity Committee, led by Ward 5 councillor Alan Shefman, was host to the second annual Vaughan Diversity Workshop on Nov. 16 at Dufferin Clark Community Centre.

“It was a really interesting evening — well attended by a very eclectic cross-section of ethnic, racial and religious communities,” Shefman said Friday. “There was good representation from social service agencies and institutions, such as the police.”

The workshop was intended to provide a forum for various cultural groups to network and discuss ideas promoting racial and social harmony.

As part of the proceedings, the committee delivered a report on the results of last year’s workshop while welcoming the public input and feedback it received.

“We’re in the process of developing a work plan for the next three years, so this gives us some further insight into what is going on in the community,” Shefman said.

The keynote speaker was Jose Fernandes, the York public school board’s administrator of community and cultural services.

“He really challenged the group and I thought that was extraordinary,” Shefman said. “He challenged them … around not allowing privilege to interfere with the need for an inclusive society.

“It was a very stimulating way to start the evening.”

The city also used the event to announce its recent membership in the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination, an initiative developed only last year.

“There’s about 10 to a dozen municipalities in the country now that have joined,” Shefman said in an interview ahead of the workshop. “We’re one of the first in the country.”

Vaughan Today
Online: November 25, 2007 [link]