The Village of Keremeos put forward a policy Monday July 6, 2020 that details the Village’s plan to eliminate systemic racism from within. From left to right: Councillor Arden Holley, Councillor Jason Wiebe, Mayor Manfred Bauer, Councillor Sherry Philpott-Adhikary and Councillor Jeremy Evans. (Submitted)

The Village of Keremeos put forward a policy Monday July 6, 2020 that details the Village’s plan to eliminate systemic racism from within. From left to right: Councillor Arden Holley, Councillor Jason Wiebe, Mayor Manfred Bauer, Councillor Sherry Philpott-Adhikary and Councillor Jeremy Evans. (Submitted)

Village of Keremeos looks to dismantle systemic racism

Mayor says the time is right to deconstruct racist institutions

The Village of Keremeos has joined the ongoing and widespread efforts to dismantle the pillars of systemic racism and oppression.

Keremeos council decided in a June 6, meeting to implement an anti-racism policy into their governing operations.

The policy was drafted with a desire to ensure that people are treated fairly by elected officials and village staff regardless of race.

Mayor Manfred Bauer said the timing was right for Keremeos to take action as discourse about the deconstruction of oppressive institutions and bureaucracies continues on a near-global scale.

“In light of a renewed focus on the issue of racism in the world, it is timely for the Village of Keremeos to adopt an anti-racism policy,” said Keremeos’ mayor of two years.

The village’s anti-racism also policy outlines principles, roles and responsibilities, and a complaint process for acts of racism and racial discrimination for elected officials, city staff and residents.

Under the policy, Keremeos’ elected officials and city staff are required to conduct all day to day operations and local government functions in a manner free of racism and racial discrimination; and “to respect the fundamental rights, personal worth and human dignity of People of Colour and Indigenous Peoples.”

In the eight-page document, the village acknowledges and recognizes the community’s potential at all levels for racism in all forms.

The village acknowledges institutional racism (or systemic discrimination) and defines it as “the institutionalization of discrimination through policies and practices which may appear neutral on the surface but which have an exclusionary impact on particular groups. This occurs in institutions and organizations, including government, where the policies, practices and procedures.”

In the document, the village notes the difference between institutional racism and individual racism, the latter is defined as “assumptions, beliefs and behaviours that stem from conscious and unconscious personal prejudice.”

The village’s new policy details how systems and citizens can reject racist practices. The policy also exists to hold elected officials and village staff accountable while showing that anti-racist behaviours can begin at the top of local systems.

The hope is that by instilling a plan to keep racism out of the village’s bureaucratic functions, village residents will do the same, said mayor Manfred Bauer.

“This should be common sense and on many levels it has been, but there still is prejudice towards people from certain ethnic backgrounds, religions, gender oriented, sexual orientation oriented. There’s all kinds of stuff in our society that I think needs to addressed.”

Bauer said the village’s new policy was put in place to make a statement to the public, both visitors and locals, that elected officials and village staff in Keremeos are committed to a “code” of treating everyone equally “regardless of their skin colour, religion or gender.”

In 2016, Keremeos’ census population was 1,502 people, according to Statistics Canada. Black, Indigneous and People of Colour accounted for .08 per cent of that population.

A copy of Keremeos’ anti-racism policy in its entirety can be found at keremeos.civicweb.net

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Homeless man lying on the bench. (File photo)
Temporary emergency shelter opens in Kelowna

The shelter, located at the former location of Tree Brewing, will offer 38 beds

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Money and drugs seized. (Kelowna RCMP)
Drugs, weapons and $20,000 seized from Kelowna home

One man was released without charge, pending further investigation

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)
Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dyer: Stay the course on Carbon pricing

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)
Jocelyn’s Jottings: Want to make change? Here are some suggestions

As a citizen you have a voice, you just have to know who to talk to

Hedley residents are advised to not drink the water until a pump in one of its wells is fixed. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Hedley residents under do-not-consume-water order due to arsenic levels

Residents in Hedley remain under a do-not-consume-water order, due to higher than… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read