Centre Emerges From Temple Ashes

March 23, 2007

Author: Kevin Werner

Source: Dundas Star News


A new community-based anti-racism group has emerged from the fire of the Hindu Samaj Temple. Hamilton's political, social and business community came out in force this week to welcome the creation of the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion. The centre is the merging of two community groups Strengthening of Hamilton's Community Initiative and the Civic and Resource Centre.

"We need to bring multi-culturalism to the next level," Madina Wasuge, executive director of the Hamilton's Centre for Civic Inclusion, told a standing-room only crowd at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. "Racism is not acceptable, violence is not acceptable. Our role is to raise awareness."

HCCI will be active in promoting an anti-racist message, and championing policies that promote inclusiveness in such issues as poverty-reduction, employment growth, and equity within government, health and education institutions. HCCI has created for the public an "organizational change tool kit" and an "ending racism tool kit" to promote inclusiveness and anti-racism policies.

The formal launch of HCCI comes at the same time as the organization celebrates Diversity Week within the community. HCC also sponsored a conference on diversity at the Hamilton Convention Centre that included about 100 business leaders. It was the Hamilton community that decided to take action but in a positive way after the 9/11 firebombing of the Hindu Samaj Temple on the Hamilton Mountain to change how the city's diverse groups see each other, said Evelyn Myrie, co-chair of the HCCI executive committee.

"We took something bad and turned it into something positive," she said. "We showed that we are not a lunch bucket town."