The Diversity, Race Relations & Inclusivity Award has been around since 2000. It is an award that is exclusive to London, Ontario. The award is handed out yearly to recognize initiatives that promote public awareness about diversity, race relations, inclusivity, and human rights. The recipients are people or companies which help advance London as a welcoming city.
There will be a maximum of five awards presented in any one year, with no more than one award in each of the following five categories:
-Small businesses/small labour (49 or fewer employees/members)
-Large businesses/large labour (50 or greater employees/members)
-Social/community service not-for-profits (49 or fewer employees/members)
-Social/community service not-for-profits (50 or greater employees/members)
-Youth and young adults (less than 26 years of age) groups or organizations
The selection process consists of 4 approving groups. Firstly, it is guided by the 5 volunteers who compose the Awards and Recognition program subcommittee. They receive all the nominations and make recommendations that are advanced to 3 other groups. The first being the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee. That recommendation will move to the city’s Community and Protective Services Community and then finally, it is approved by City Council.
Florence (Flo) Cassar is a volunteer with the City of London for the Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Oppression Advisory Committee. She is also the chairman of the Awards and Recognition Program.
The committee promotes the award through social media, and they participate in any community or educational events, that are aligned with the award. “Anywhere we can spread the word on the recognition program”, Cassar adds. This involves visiting organizations or other social service groups to share learning about the award and if they feel they qualify for an award, they will assist them with a submission. “It’s about creating relationships with the community. We know there’s a lot of good stuff happening in our community but there’s less awareness about the recognition in our community or even a thought they would qualify for it”, says Cassar. She goes on to say that she feels this is an important time for London as a whole. Cassar says “We hear about a lot of local occurrence, whether it’s a hate crime or discrimination of some sort but the reality is there’s a lot of really good work going on in our community and we talk less about that.” She added that this award is important because it recognizes Londoners who are making a difference in the community. “A lot of it is educating our neighbours and supporting each other.”
Cassar feels that individuals or communities work in isolation but says awards like this create a network that allows them to meet with one another. This enables them to build strategic work that may be beneficial to more than one party.
The committee spends a lot of time coordinating the logistics around the award as well. Once the receive a submission, they may interview the nominator so they can make sure we understand and have clarity on the information they have provided.
Recipients are presented with the award by Mayor Matt Brown. This event occurs during a council meeting date which is closest to the Human Rights Day of December the 10th. This year’s award ceremony will take place on November the 20th.
If you feel your organization or some other organization/individual you know is impacting the city of London in a positive way, please don’t hesitate to make a submission.
The deadline for submissions is September 30th, 2018. For more information and submissions please visit London.ca
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