VIU Shines Light on Inequities During Global Citizens Week

VIU Shines Light on Inequities During Global Citizens Week

VIU Global Citizens Week, February 8 - 12, 2021 Equity in Action

January 27, 2021 - 1:15pm

Annual VIU event goes virtual with community conversations on building a more just society at home and abroad. 

In the midst of a pandemic and a year of reckoning with racial injustice, Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Global Citizens Week is tackling the theme of Equity in Action.

The event (February 8 – 12, 2021) will explore initiatives that aim to challenge inequity – from systemic racism and unconscious bias, to inequity in health, human rights, climate impacts, media, migration and more, while showcasing the efforts of students, staff and faculty to make meaningful change. 

“The pandemic has been a great revealer of the inequities that exist in our society,” says Darrell Harvey, VIU’s Manager of Global Engagement. “The activities and topics we are examining shed light on local and global issues that have come to light thanks to the pandemic, but also other issues such as climate change, which are having a disproportionately negative impact on marginalized and racialized communities.” 

For example, panel discussions will reflect on the unequal health impacts of COVID-19 at home and abroad with health practitioners from Canada and Mexico.  

“International practitioners will share the experiences of frontline workers and what they've observed, which communities have been most impacted by COVID from a health perspective and their related social determinants of health,” says Harvey. “For example, while Canadians worry they may wait months to get vaccinated, there are many countries that won’t see vaccines reach their populations for much longer, or not at all.” 

There will also be a Lunch and Learn event that will explore how the pandemic has affected local social service delivery. 

Other notable events include the Engaged Citizens Speaker Series featuring Dawn Thomas Aa ap waa iik, Associate Deputy Minister for Indigenous Health with the BC Ministry of Health, who will talk about addressing Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in BC’s health-care system.  

In another special event hosted by VIU’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, prominent local Indigenous leader and VIU Chancellor Dr. Judith Sayers Kekinusuqs will speak about Indigenous communities and climate change, how they are responding and how we can translate some of that learning into the classroom.  

Monday’s feature film screening, The Condor and the Eagle, is an award-winning documentary about the battle to preserve Indigenous lands across the Americas from resource extraction. 

Guests are also encouraged to join other virtual events such as the Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series, which looks at how Point Ellice House, a historic site in Victoria, is working to update and overhaul narratives to bring attention to the relationships that sustained dispossession, people, power and privilege.  

VIU’s Portal magazine is hosting online readings by racialized and Indigenous writers in advance of the launch of a special edition this spring. There will be presentations on the barriers to refugee resettlement in Canada and anti-discrimination first aid training, in addition to the always popular All Nations Reggae Symposium.  

“People all over the world identify with music and reggae, historically, has been the soundtrack to many social movements that aim to combat racism and discrimination,” says Harvey.  

In line with the reggae theme, renowned Dub Poet Lillian Allen will be capping off the week with a special reading as VIU’s Gustafson’s Distinguished Poet

The Global Citizens Week schedule of events can be found here:



Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.7296 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Global Citizens Week | International | Teaching and Learning

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