New partnership to fight hate in Sarnia-Lambton

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A group of organizations are coming together to help victims of hate in Sarnia-Lambton while making the community a more inclusive and welcoming place.
The John Howard Society of Sarnia Lambton has partnered with the Lambton Kent District School Board, the Sarnia Lambton Local Immigration Partnership and the Sarnia Police to announce the creation of the Sarnia Lambton Alliance against Hate (SLAH).

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Not only will the alliance provide many supports and services to victims of hate crimes in Sarnia-Lambton, said project coordinator Lindsey Travis, it will also raise awareness in the community about the prevalence of hate crimes through an education campaign. while also working with community partners to find ways to foster opportunities for the community to come together and support each other.

The alliance has secured $ 103,180 in funding over two years through the province’s Safer and Vital Communities grant.

“We know that hate motivated acts have taken place, not only in the Sarnia-Lambton area, but across Canada,” said Travis. “And so the (provincial) government has recognized that by supporting opportunities to have programs like this one, which support people who are affected by hate motivated acts and provide them with support and services.
“The impact of these acts can be quite significant and can include psychological distress, a feeling of insecurity as well as a feeling of non-acceptance in their own communities,” she continued. “These (partnerships) allow us to reach a wide variety of individuals, to bring education and awareness to the presence of such acts at the local and community level.

There will be plenty of support for the victims, Travis said.

“Everyone who seeks help or is referred to us will benefit from emotional support as well as the opportunity to connect with other community organizations, advocates, local institutions, legal support and organized groups. for further assistance, ”she said. “We also offer an online reporting system, so if a person is a victim of or witnesses an act or makes a complaint on behalf of another person, they can provide information and we can offer follow-up support. afterwards.”

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And the alliance encourages community members to get involved and get involved through a variety of volunteer opportunities.

“We’re also giving the community opportunities to get involved as well – volunteers who will deal directly with those accessing services as well as indirectly with them as well. “

At the end of the two-year period, a review will take place to measure the success of the project, Travis said.

“We also seek to increase the sense of safety and inclusion throughout the community, to foster partnerships and educate the community, as well as to raise the level of comfort of community members to come forward when they are experiencing an act motivated by hatred, ”she said. . “We want to start the conversation and get people talking about it. “

Other partners are eager to find ways to reduce hate crime and help victims in Sarnia-Lambton.

“We are excited to be working with our partners to fight hate and work to make Sarnia Lambton a safe community for all,” said John Howard Sarnia Lambton Society Executive Director Christine LeDrew in a press release. “Hate-motivated acts are meant to divide people, so we need to work together to fight this and make sure those who have been victimized feel connected and supported by their community. “
“I felt excited and honored when I was contacted by the John Howard Society to participate in the Sarnia Lambton Alliance Against Hate,” Sarnia Police Chief Norm Hansen said in a statement. “As law enforcement officers, Sarnia Police will always speak out against hatred in all its forms. As the saying goes, everyone is welcome here ”.

For more information on the Sarnia Lambton Alliance against Hate or to access its online reporting mechanism, visit https://johnhoward.on.ca/sarnia-lambton/services/slah/, email slah @ johnhoward .sarnia.com or call 519-336-1020, ext.010.

SLAH will be hosting a Volunteer Information Session on Thursday, October 28 at 2:00 p.m. at the Insignia Hotel in Sarnia (283 Christina St N, Sarnia). For those interested in participating, contact slah@johnhoward.sarnia.com or call 519-336-1020, ext. 010.

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