Hamil­to­ni­ans map their her­itage

Cam­paign cre­ates wel­come en­vi­ron­ment for new­com­ers by cel­e­brat­ing di­ver­sity

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL -

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.

KOBBY CRABBE, HIPC

The Hamil­ton Im­mi­gra­tion Part­ner­ship Coun­cil cel­e­brated Canada Day with a booth called “The Cana­dian Mul­ti­cul­tural Ex­change Sta­tion” at Bayfront Park.

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