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2. Getting started – developing a plan

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Develop a plan: Interested in starting initiatives to raise awareness about discrimination? Interested in addressing diversity issues or promoting inclusion, or anti-racism and anti-discrimination practices? If you are, you start by developing a plan of action that meets the needs. A plan is a “must” for anti-racism work because it encourages a sustained commitment and awareness; anti-racism work is not a one-time event.

BOX 3: Diversity

  • Diversity means the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within
    a group
  • Diversity recognizes that each person has unique characteristics.

The words “inclusion” and “inclusive” often come up in discussions on plans, programs and initiatives about social inclusion. They can have many different meanings and be understood in different ways.

The Laidlaw Foundation’s study on Immigrant Settlement and Social Inclusion defined “social inclusion” as “making sure that all children and adults are able to participate as valued, respected and contributing members of society. It is about closing physical, social and economic distances separating people, rather than only about eliminating boundaries or barriers between us and them.”[1] In this manual, inclusion means all members of a community have equal access to the resources of their community and the opportunity to participate in all areas, regardless of their race, gender, social class, religion, sexual identity or other dimension of diversity.

While there are many models to help you plan, the basic concepts are generally the same (see reference Box 4). Each municipality has its own unique needs so plans should be changed and improved along the way depending on resources and priorities.

BOX 4: The planning process

  • Taking stock of activities
  • Research
  • Identify stakeholders/ community capacity
  • Analysis and moving forward

Reasons: Remember to identify the reason(s) for conducting anti-racism and anti-discrimination work. Is it because of a need in the community that has not been addressed? Have individuals or groups in the community identified a problem or requested support for an issue? Is it in reaction to an incident that occurred within the community? Is it a desire to ensure that the municipality is more inclusive for all its members? The reasons will help determine the goals of the work. Although the plan may be a response to a situation, the act of planning should be proactive with the aim of preventing discrimination in the future.

A clear plan of action will help municipalities decide what resources they have, how to effectively use them and how to identify the short and long term goals. It provides a blue print or guide to achieve inclusion.

[1] Omidvar, Ratna and Richmond, Ted, Immigrant settlement and social inclusion in Canada, 2003 Laidlaw Foundation, pg viii 

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