Burnaby, BC (February 27, 2014) – Burnaby’s coming together on March 5, 2014, to celebrate the city’s diverse and rich culture in a unique event hosted by the Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table (BIPT) titled, Inspiring People, Inspiring Stories – Burnaby Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Burnaby has come a long way from its early beginnings. In fact, the community’s immigrant and refugee population increased nearly 40 per cent between 1996 and 2006 – an above average upsurge for BC communities. Today, newcomers make up more than 50 per cent of Burnaby’s population.
“I grew up in Burnaby,” says Jeanne Fike, Executive Director of Burnaby Family Life and Co-Chair of the BIPT. “It was a white, middle–‐class suburb of Vancouver.” And then, as she explains, “the population just exploded.”
With an influx of new immigrants come many benefits for Burnaby – from new perspectives, and diverse cultural, educational and professional opportunities. The event will celebrate the contributions of newcomers to the growth and vibrancy of Burnaby.
“For the past year, BIPT has been working tirelessly on building a more welcoming and inclusive community for newcomers,” says Jody Johnson, Project Coordinator for BIPT. “The event on March 5th is our opportunity to showcase the work BIPT and the residents of Burnaby have done to help make Burnaby the most welcoming community in Canada.
” Guests of the event will be inspired, educated and motivated to continue the movement through a unique display of dance, presentations and music. Immigrants and residents will also demonstrate and share personal stories of how Burnaby has grown to become the dynamic city it is today.
Among BIPT’s projects that will be Showcased on March 5th is “The World In Burnaby” project – a significant public education campaign aimed at raising awareness and a more comprehensive community response. It includes web and social media resources (www.worldinburnaby.com), an easily doable list of tips and ways to welcome that can be practiced by everyone, and a 20-foot inflatable globe that draws attention and many immediate fans wherever it shows up in the community.
Another element has seen trained immigrant storytellers fanning out across the city to entertain and inform on the perspectives and experiences of new immigrants. Working with the local business and the Burnaby Board of Trade, the BIPT has also provided cultural diversity and awareness training to employers, professional development for service providers and peer volunteer training for residents.
Inspiring People, Inspiring Stories – Burnaby Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is part of Embracing Cultural Diversity Day, which was proclaimed a special day in 2010 by Mayor Corrigan and Burnaby City Council.
Opening remarks will be made by Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, and the Master of Ceremonies will be Alden Habacon, an accomplished diversity and inclusion specialist and leading thinker in social sustainability.
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