Celebrated and accomplished author, mentor and Sliammon elder Elsie Paul will be the keynote speaker at Walk Away From Racism this year. The free family event takes place on Saturday, March 19 at the Campbell River Community Centre – 401 11th Ave. It begins at 10:30 and ends at 2:00, with an outdoor walk at noon.
This year marks the 20th anniversary the Immigrant Welcome Centre has put on the Walk
Against Racism. Over the years, cumulatively, that is a lot of people walking together to say no to inequality, discrimination and segregation. A strong community indeed, standing up in unity, towards a belief that things can be better; things can change.
Who better to share her views on such things than Elsie Paul, a woman whose life, along with those of her friends and family were irrevocably altered by colonialism, segregation and racism. Notwithstanding her grief, Paul has made it her life’s work to serve and teach others. In 2010 Paul received an honorary doctorate degree from Vancouver Island University, which recognized her dedication towards the well being of First Nations people. Many of her teachings focus on change, healing and transformation.
In 2015, her book, Written As I Remember It (UBC Press), was the winner of both the Armitage-Jameson Prize, (Coalition for Western Women’s History), and the Aboriginal History Book Prize, (Canadian Historical Association). It also received an Honorable Mention from the BCHF Historical Writing Awards, (British Columbia Historical Federation). In addition, Paul was the recipient of the Canadian Historical Association’s Lifetime Achievement award, was the first woman to be elected as band councilor and has served as Justice of the Peace. During this time, Judge Shirley Giroday had said, “Elsie was our first choice for the appointment and we were very pleased she accepted.” We are also pleased that Elsie Paul has agreed to share her wisdom at this special event in Campbell River.
This accessible event will also include interactive cultural booths, entertainment, face painting, refreshments, take away art works and, with the help of local artists, the construction of a tapestry to celebrate “Walking Together”.