Hamiltonians map their heritage
Campaign creates welcome environment for newcomers by celebrating diversity
More than 300 Hamiltonians placed pins on a giant world map to showcase their roots as part of a broader community initiative to celebrate diversity.
The exercise, which saw people mark where they’re from and connect their heritage to Hamilton with a string, was part of a prelaunch for a new campaign to address negative stereotypes and misconceptions around newcomers.
“Ultimately, we all come from somewhere, and this is our city together,” said Nicole Longstaff, a senior project manager with the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. “Somewhere along the line we were all newcomers.”
The public education campaign called #HamiltonForAll is expected to be formally launched this fall, but the mapping exercise was held at Bayfront Park on Canada Day.
It is supported by partners including Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, the City of Hamilton and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
Toronto and Ajax have already launched similar campaigns with the help of OCASI.
The goal is to create a welcome environment for newcomers by starting conversations about where people come from and celebrating diversity, Longstaff said.
She pointed to a national Statistics Canada Report that showed Hamilton has the second-highest rate of policereported hate crimes, only falling behind Thunder Bay.
“If we don’t foster a welcoming city, people aren’t going to want to stay,” she said.
For more information, visit hamiltonforall.ca.
The Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council celebrated Canada Day with a booth called “The Canadian Multicultural Exchange Station” at Bayfront Park.