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Multiculturalism series aimed to educate the Tri-Cities on B.C.'s diversity

Coquitlam Public Library is set to explore different races in the region and province including Indigenous Peoples, early immigrants, Black history and others.
diverse group of people
Diverse group of people spread out in a collage of photos.

B.C. shares a rich history of diversity and multiculturalism.

In an effort to share that history, the Coquitlam Public Library has been granted funding from the province to host a five-part speaker series to educate interested residents and how to better understand the struggles of everyday society.

Called 'Past and Present: A Conversation about Race in B.C.,' each 90-minute session will focus on a particular cultural group, starting with the Kwikwetlem First Nation and Indigenous Peoples.

A synopsis explains topics of discussion — which will be followed by audience participation and questions.  They include personal testimonies, the legal rights Indigenous Peoples had, the discrimination they faced, residential schools and their lasting impacts. 

The first session is scheduled for Oct. 6 and can be attended in-person or online.

The other four events are as follows, each taking place from 6:30 to 8 p.m.:

  • Oct. 27, 2021 - Early Immigrants
    • The second session will focus on the Early Immigrants in BC, specifically focusing on Chinese, Japanese and Punjabi immigrants. You will learn about their year of arrival and why they came, what industries they worked in when they arrived, and what experiences they dealt with, including legal rights and discrimination.
  • Nov. 17, 2021 - Black History
    • The third session will be about B.C.'s Black history, hearing from:
      • Stephanie Allen, a Board Member of Hogan’s Alley Society who will talk about the history of the Black community in B.C., including what experiences they dealt with.
      • Valerie Jerome, a former Olympian, educator and political activist, who will tell her experiences growing up in B.C.
      • Vanessa Richards, artist and community activist, who will talk about Black artistic and cultural expression in B.C. 
  • Dec. 8, 2021 – Current Climate
    • The fourth session will address human rights and systemic discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code. You will hear from a representative from the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner who will discuss human rights, systemic racism and discrimination under the B.C.’s Human Rights Code, as well as hear about the work of the Office.
  • Jan. 12, 2022 - Community Conversations
    • The last session will be what's called a 'Community Conversation,' using this event as a launching point for future initiatives that address race and social equity. These initiatives could be either community-led and/or library-led.

For more information about the Race in B.C. speaker series, you're encouraged to email Ann Johannes ( or visit the Coquitlam Public Library's website.