Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

News and Events

Inclusion Week 2024

January 29, 2024

RRC Polytech’s second annual Inclusion Week is February 26 to March 1, 2024! The week-long event is filled with in-person and virtual opportunities for students, staff and faculty to learn how to embody equity, diversity, and inclusion at work, in class, and in our personal lives.

We strive to host accessible events. If you require an accommodation, please email diversity@rrc.ca.

Diversity counts on our campuses. At RRC Polytech, we are committed to pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in everything we do – and to do this, we need to know who’s here at the College. By completing the Student and Employee Diversity Self-Identification Survey, you will help us assess our current EDI initiatives, programs and policies and help us make meaningful progress in our shared priorities


Schedule of Events

Monday, February 26

Queer Voices, Inclusive Choices: Transforming Academic Spaces
Keynote with Dr. Robert Mizzi
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | In-person and virtual
Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae

Inclusion Week is an opportunity to celebrate and promote everyday inclusion in all its forms at RRC Polytech and to support our commitment to pursue equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in everything that we do.

This opening event will kick off with opening remarks from Dr. Christine Watson, Vice President, Academic, followed by a keynote presentation from Dr. Robert Mizzi. Dr. Mizzi will speak on inclusion strategies, respectful work and learning spaces, and affirming and amplifying queer identities and knowledge.

Light Refreshments will be provided for in-person attendees. Space is limited so be sure to register early.

Dr. Robert Mizzi is the Canada Research Chair in Queer, Community and Diversity Education and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Mizzi is a member of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame and the Royal Society of Canada.

He has produced over 200 publications and presentations. His most recent book is Queer Studies and Education: An International Reader (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Gratitude in the Workplace (for Faculty and Staff)
With Homewood Health
1:00 to 2:00 p.m. | Online via MS Teams

Over the past two decades, the field of positive psychology has expanded rapidly, and one of the most discussed areas has been gratitude. We know that people who practice gratitude lead healthier lives both physically and emotionally. Expressing and receiving gratitude at work directly and indirectly contributes to a culture of cooperative, motivated, and effective employees who give back and feel supported, appreciated, and recognized. By attending, participants will gain awareness on research-based strategies to improve the well-being of employees and the culture or organizations.


Please note that this session will not be recorded.

Tuesday, February 27

Read&Write – A Literacy Support Toolbar Now Available at RRC Polytech
With Erica Ament
10:00 to 11:00 a.m. | Virtual via MS Teams

Join Erica Ament, Assistive Technologist with RRC Polytech, to explore an exciting new software available for all staff and students to use. Read&Write has digital tools with supports for reading, writing, notetaking, studying, comprehension, translation, and more! Learn how Read&Write reads digital text aloud, highlights information and collects your highlights, provides definitions, creates vocabulary lists, and translates text! Plus, these amazing supports are available for both your desktop, and web content! …and did we mention Read&Write is free?! You get all the above supports, and more, in a very user-friendly package, for the low cost of, free!


Please note that this session will be recorded.

About the Presenter
Erica Ament has been with the College for five years in our Student Accessibility Services department. Erica has worked with individuals with disabilities for over 15 years in various settings including: coordinating multiple after school recreation programs and summer camps for youth; as an Educational Assistant in the K-12 school system; in group homes; in daycares/summer camps; and even spent time volunteering to support elementary school students with disabilities in Central America. Erica holds a BA in Sociology and Conflict Resolution Studies, and during her studies explored and wrote about the education of individuals with disabilities. Erica strongly believes in I/UDL and is passionate about sharing how technology can support all learners.

Movie Screening: Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia
12:00 to 1:00 p.m. | In-person
Screening at EDC (Roundhouse Auditorium) and NDC (White Lecture Theatre, GM42)

Screening Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia by Josiane Blanc (24 min, 2019.) A powerful collection of testimonies from teenage girls who have been victimized by fatphobia, a social phenomenon that stigmatizes and discriminates against individuals because of their weight. 

What is fatphobia and what can be done to overcome it? With poetic illustrations and painful, compelling testimony, Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia offers multiple examples of the psychological effects of weight-based discrimination and bullying on adolescent girls.

Drop in; registration is not required.

Wednesday, February 28

The Inclusive Library: From Searches to Collections
Presented by Library and Academic Services
Facilitated by Fatima DeMelo
10:00 to 11:00 a.m. | Virtual through MS Teams

While the library as an inclusive, physical space facilitates discussions relating to inclusion and libraries, factors like resource collection and changing keywords also play a role in silently fostering or limiting inclusion. In this session, participants will learn about inclusive searching of library resources and how access to information, in order to counter ignorance and foster allyship.

Outcomes/Key Takeaways:

  • Recognize libraries are part of a larger discussion of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).
  • Describe RRC Polytech’s library’s evolution as a more inclusive library to include staff development, curated collections through our LibGuides, and indigenous subject headings.

About the Presenter
Fatima DeMelo has worked for the RRC Polytech library for 13 years and currently works as a Reference Technician doing everything from troubleshooting printers to answering student questions on chat or in person. When not on campus, she enjoys reading and goes from yoga namaste to boxing knock-out at the gym when not taking walks. 

Finding your voice and advocating for change
With Isha Khan
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | In-person and virtual
Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae

In this featured speaker presentation, Isha Khan, CEO, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, will talk about finding our voice and advocating for change. This presentation will provide ideas and strategies for students and staff to create an inclusive work and learning environment. A question-and-answer period will be available at the end of the session.

Light refreshments will be provided for in-person attendees. Space is limited so be sure to register early!

About the Presenter
Isha Khan (she/her) is a lawyer, educator and community leader dedicated to building a culture of human rights in Canada and beyond. She has led the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as its CEO since August 2020.  

Isha holds degrees from the University of Manitoba and the University of Victoria. She worked in private practice as a lawyer in Calgary before returning to Winnipeg to lead institutional development and change management at United Way Winnipeg. She served at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, first as legal counsel and then as Executive Director. Before assuming her role at the Museum, she was appointed by the Government of Canada to review the conditions of incarcerated people in segregation in federal penitentiaries.  

In addition to her professional accomplishments, she is a dedicated community volunteer who currently sits on the board of the Main Street Project and the executive committee of the International Network of Museums for Peace. She is also a past Board Chair of United Way Winnipeg. 

Throughout her life, Khan has helped build communities where everyone is respected and empowered to reach their full potential. She continues that work at the Museum, engaging people around the world in a growing movement for hope and human rights. 

Movie Screening: Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia
12:00 to 1:00 p.m. | In-person
Steinbach Campus, Room 116

Screening Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia by Josiane Blanc (24 min, 2019.) A powerful collection of testimonies from teenage girls who have been victimized by fatphobia, a social phenomenon that stigmatizes and discriminates against individuals because of their weight. 

What is fatphobia and what can be done to overcome it? With poetic illustrations and painful, compelling testimony, Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia offers multiple examples of the psychological effects of weight-based discrimination and bullying on adolescent girls.

Drop in; registration is not required.

Yoga with Holly
12:10 to 12:50 p.m. | In-person and virtual

Holly Pluchinski guides participants to stretch, breathe and feel good. Suitable for all levels; mats are provided for in-person session.


In-person yoga takes place in GM33, near the North Gym, NDC. Virtual registration includes access to the recording for one week post-class.

About Holly
Holly Pluchinski is a 400-hour registered yoga teacher who has been teaching since 2016. She believes that yoga can be both a tool for introspective growth and also fun which is why oftentimes there’s laughter in her classes. Holly’s yoga classes are often designed to embrace the brain to body connection through classic yoga poses and a focus on functional movements.

Thursday, February 29

Blanket Exercise (for Faculty and Staff)
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. | In-person
Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, EDC

The Blanket Exercise is an in-person, experiential learning workshop for all RRC Polytech employees. It brings participants together to learn the effects of Canada’s shared historical colonization. It allows people to relate to history from a first-person perspective. To support our commitment in the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, to make progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, strengthening our culture and increasing positive relationships with non-Indigenous, Indigenous students, businesses, and communities, The Blanket Exercise helps direct our path forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples. 

For more information on the workshop, please click here


Don’t forget to get your supervisor’s approval and complete the Staff Development Activity Form.

Questions? Contact Taryn Presley at tpresley@rrc.ca

Drag Storytime with Miss Gender
12:00 to 1:00 p.m. | In-person
NDC Library (CM18)

Join us for a dynamic reading of a storybook by local Drag Queen, Miss Gender. Modeled after similar events, the aim is to inspire a love of reading, while teaching deeper lessons on diversity, self-love and an appreciation of others. Following the reading, participants will have an opportunity for a Q&A with Miss Gender.

Drop-in; registration is not required.

About the Presenter

Miss Assuma Gender (she/her) is a funky, crafty, and weird little drag queen from Treaty 1. She’s the current reigning Mx. Queer Winnipeg, a member of the Sunshine Bunch, and has performed all across Manitoba with her friends. Assuma has been performing in drag for the last four years, bringing theatre, camp, and stories about her queer journey to every event. She’s always excited to talk, to sing, to listen, and to learn.

Intro to Basic American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture
With Cheryle Broszeit and Kyra Zimmer
2:00 to 3:00 p.m. | In-person
Prairie Lights, NDC

This workshop will offer an introduction to both basic ASL and Deaf Culture. Together we will learn basic greetings in ASL in conjunction with the ASL manual alphabet – utilizing fingerspelling as a communication tool and conveying cultural awareness and respect for the Deaf Community to widen awareness about Deaf Culture. This session will be interpreted.


About the Presenters

Cheryle Broszeit is an instructor in the ASL-English Interpretation Program and is currently also teaching ASL classes for beginners through RRC Polytech’s Continuing Education Department. Cheryle has been teaching at the college for 24 years. Cheryle, who is Deaf, comes from a large Deaf family and an active member of the Winnipeg Deaf Community. Cheryle is also an avid photographer, and nature lover who loves to travel.

Kyra Zimmer is an instructor in the ASL-English Interpretation Program and is currently also teaching ASL classes for beginners through RRC Polytech’s Continuing Education Department. Kyra has been teaching at the college for 25 years. Kyra, who is Deaf, comes from a large Deaf family and an active member of the Winnipeg Deaf Community. In her free time Kyra can be found spending time with her family, reading and swimming.

Cooking for Wellness
With Abby Legaspi
6:00 to 8:00 p.m. | Virtual

From the comfort of your own kitchen, Abby Legaspi leads at-home chefs through the step-by-step recipe for Crab Rangoon and Pork Shumai (Siomai – dim sum/dumplings). Cozy up with good food and lots of fun!


Note: The first 20 RRC Polytech students may request an ingredient kit to pick up from NDC or EDC. You will receive email confirmation. Student supply kits are limited, so register early.

Contact Kristi for more information: kdorian@rrc.ca

Friday, March 1

Lateral Violence to Lateral Kindness
With Tanya Clarke-Marinelli
8:30 to 9:30 a.m. | In-person and virtual
Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, EDC

The session will adapt a decolonized approach to lateral violence in the workplace by describing the essential characteristics of lateral violence, examining why we engage in lateral violence, exploring how lateral violence has affected individuals, redirecting lateral violence to lateral kindness and identifying specific lateral kindness behaviours that can be incorporated within our workplace, families, schools, and communities. There will be time for question and answers at the end of the session.

Light refreshments will be provided for in-person attendees. Space is limited so be sure to register early!


This session will be recorded for future viewing.

About the Presenter
Tanya Clarke-Marinelli is a proud First Nations woman from Hollow Water First Nation and the founder of TC Training Services. She served three years on the Board of Directors with the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and serves as Vice President with Neemu-Egwah Inc.

Supportive Employment Information Session (for Staff and Faculty)
With Joy Gilpin
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. | In-person
Prairie Lights, NDC

This interactive and engaging session will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn more about RRC Polytech’s Supportive Employment Program. The session will cover:

  • An overview of supportive employment, the supportive employment process and the roles and responsibilities of those involved;
  • Information on general practices around requesting and providing medical documentation;
  • An overview of the workplace accommodation process; and,
  • Where employees can learn more information and/or access additional supports and resources

Please note that this session is open to faculty and staff members only.


About the Presenter

Joy Gilpin, Supportive Employment Consultant
Joy began her career in disability management after graduating from the Human Resource Management program at the University of Winnipeg and then graduating from the Disability Management Studies program at Dalhousie University. She subsequently obtained a Certified Disability Management Professional (CDMP) designation from the National Institute of Disability and Research (NIDMAR), making her uniquely qualified as a subject matter expert in the field of disability management. Joy has worked in a variety of disability management and safety roles in both private and public sectors and possesses a strong management skillset as a result of this combination of formal education and diverse work experience.

Sports For All
Hosted by International Education and Campus Well-Being
12:00 to 1:00 p.m. | In-person
North Gym, NDC

Join us for a lively game event as part of Inclusion Week, a collaboration between International Education and Campus Well-Being. It’s a fantastic opportunity to indulge in some sports, forge new connections, and explore well-being programs. We believe in the importance of sports and fitness for personal well-being. Gameplay will be kept to a lower intensity to intentionally include those who are new to sport or who haven’t played in some time. 

To save time during your entry, kindly sign the gym waiver form here. Remember your Student or Staff ID and indoor shoes for a swift entry swipe! 

All students and staff welcome – to come check out the gym, learn some basic skills and play a casual game guided by our knowledgeable staff. 

Participants may choose to play up to two of the following sports: 

  • Badminton 
  • Volleyball  
  • Basketball 

Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Looking forward to seeing you there for a day of fun, fitness, and community!

Pow Wow Teaching with Ray (Coco) Stevenson
1:00 to 2:00 p.m. | In-person
Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, EDC

If you have ever been to a powwow then you know what powwow songs sound like; the steady drum beat and vocals that accompany the various dances: jingle, fancy, shawl, traditional, and grass dance. But while it may seem like they all sound the same, there are many different types and songs for all occasions, from those sung to honour someone — like veterans’ songs — or those sung only in ceremony, like the Sundance. 

About the Presenter
Walking wolf Ray “Coco” Stevenson comes from Treaty 1 Territory with both Ojibway and Cree background. Home for Ray is Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. 

Coco is a traditional singer, drummer and a composer of traditional singing and well known for his roles within the Pow Wow community. He was first introduced to drumming and ceremonies over thirty years ago. His journey as an Indigenous artist started after that first introduction. Over the years he has recorded seven original albums of his own composed songs. 

Self-Guided Resources

Accessibility

Campus Well-Being

RRC Polytech understands that personal and community well-being contributes to both student success and employee engagement. That’s why Campus Well-Being provides programs, services and resources to support the holistic health of students, staff and faculty. 

Through sportfitnessrecreation and mental wellness initiatives, we create a greater sense of well-being, belonging and connectedness in our campus community. Health is not only about our bodies, but also about our minds, emotions, spirit and relationships. 

2SLGBTQIA+

Celebrating Pride: An evolving list of resources and self-directed learning helps to foster understanding and allyship, all year round.

Staff/Faculty Training: Gender and Sexual Identities: Advancing Understanding and Inclusion

More Resources

Eliminating Harmful Language: Content Warning: This website contains language that is offensive or harmful. Please engage with this website at your own pace.

Centennial College: Social Action Cards

Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice Returns March 6 

February 21, 2024

The Anti-Racism Action Committee is excited to launch the third iteration of the Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice (TRCP) this Winter.  

The TRCP is an RRC Polytech learning community that creates opportunities for staff and faculty to extend and apply their learning, and to take action to advance Truth and Reconciliation and anti-racism. Joanna White, Indigenous Education Developer on the Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development team, will be facilitating this series.

Participation in the TRCP will involve a commitment of 10-12 hours throughout Winter 2024. This includes both group discussion, facilitated in circle, and small group or partner discussions, around guided questions that relate to both Truth and Reconciliation and anti-racism. These discussions will guide participants on a journey through the Medicine Wheel and will provide experiential learning around Indigenous teachings. Participation in the TRCP will culminate in a group feast, to celebrate the truth learned and actions taken over the course of the term, as well as to plan next steps.

Outcomes: 

Outcomes of participation in the TRCP include:  

  • Demonstrating a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, and the pursuit of EDI.  
  • Experiencing and understanding Indigenous teachings, such as circle teaching and the Medicine Wheel.  
  • Identifying meaningful opportunities for individual action and engagement relating to reconciliation, and the enhancement of inclusion at RRC Polytech.

Key Dates:  

Participation in the TRCP involves the following dates: 

  • Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice Circle: March 6, 2:00 – 4:00 (F205, NDC) 
  • Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice Circle: March 20, 2:00 – 4:00 (F205, NDC) 
  • Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice Circle: April 10, 2:00 – 4:00 (F205, NDC) 
  • Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice Group Wrap up & Feast: April 24, 2:00 – 4:00 (F205, NDC) 
  • 4 x 1 hour meetings with small group/learning partner for discussion and reflection (self-directed, in-person or remote) 

Learn more and apply now: 

If you have any questions about the Truth and Reconciliation Community of Practice, please let us know.

Currently, the TRCP is only open to college staff and faculty.

Apply to this iteration of this program here.

February is Black History Month

February 1, 2024

February is Black History Month, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities, who have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity. The theme for Black History Month 2024 is Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build. You can learn more about Black history in Canada on the Government of Canada website.

Black History Month at RRC Polytech

RRC Polytech is committed to pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. During Black History Month the College community is encouraged to heighten their awareness of the Black Canadians in our lives who impact us daily – celebrate their successes and contributions and spend time learning about the many ways cultural diversity enriches our lives.       

Library & Academic Services has created the Anti-Black Racism Learning Toolkit to help everyone better understand racism and how to take action against it. An additional list of resources will be shared below.

New members of the College’s Anti-Racism Action Committee are always welcome to join a working group of motivated staff and students dedicated to making a difference across our campuses. If you are interested in attending a meeting, please reach out to Co-Chair Rebecca Molly Hiebert.   


RRC Polytech is sponsoring a community event entitled Supporting the Winnipeg Black Collective: Action Vision & Change on February 16th at Fort Richmond Collegiate. All members of the College community are invited to show their support by attending the dinner and symposium featuring a keynote address by Canada’s award-winning Black Justice Strategy Co-author, Zilla Jones, BMA, JD.

The evening’s festivities will celebrate Afro-Caribbean Black Canadian communities’ by paying homage to its rich history and celebrating Afro-Caribbean Black (ACB) people’s great accomplishments in our present times. The evening’s social gathering will encourage audience members to dance, sing and contribute to a thought-provoking panel discussion on the Black experiences in Winnipeg, empowering ACB community members, and supporting local Black Businesses and Initiatives.

The third annual event is organized by the Afro-Caribbean Mentorship Program (ACMP) and the University of Manitoba Black Alliance (UMBA). RSVP is required as space is limited.

Click for more details and to register

As part of the event sponsorship, one RRC Polytech student of African/Black descent (including international students) will be awarded a Book Bursary of $400, providing they submit their application before the deadline of February 10th.  Please encourage any students or classmates who might qualify to fill out the brief online form to apply.   

Click to apply


Black staff, alumni and students have previously shared some personal stories to help others better understand the significance of Black History Month and we recommend you revisit them through the following links:      

Sharing Stories – Tanya Hansen Pratt

Sharing Stories – Gbolahan Olutayo Oduntan

Sharing Stories – Phyllis Reid-Jarvis

Stay tuned to the Diversity blog and RRC Polytech’s social media channels for additional events and stories throughout February, as the celebration of Black History Month continues.


Staff are also encouraged to complete the Anti-Racism training on LEARN this month, if you haven’t already. The course speaks to unconscious bias, microaggressions, systemic racism, and privilege and purposefully challenges our staff to act when confronted with racism or discrimination, to create safe learning and working environments for all.

As we celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, we also recognize the importance of equity and inclusion beyond the month of February. At RRC Polytech, we are committed to pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do, year-round.


Additional Resources:

If you have any questions, please contact us at diversity@rrc.ca.

Save the Date for Inclusion Week 2024: Feb 26 to Mar 1

January 5, 2024

RRC Polytech’s second annual Inclusion Week is coming up, February 26 to March 1, 2024! The week-long event is filled with in-person and virtual opportunities for students, staff and faculty to learn how to embody equity, diversity, and inclusion at work, in class, and in our personal lives.

We are excited to announce the Inclusion Week keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Mizzi, who will be presenting a session entitled Queer Voices, Inclusive Choices: Transforming Academic Spaces.

Dr. Robert Mizzi is the Canada Research Chair in Queer, Community and Diversity Education and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Mizzi is a member of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame and the Royal Society of Canada.

He has produced over 200 publications and presentations. His most recent book is Queer Studies and Education: An International Reader (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Stay tuned to the Diversity blog and Staff/Student News for the full Inclusion Week schedule of events.

Signed up to volunteer for Inclusion Week? The Planning Committee is currently finalizing the programming and will be reaching out with volunteer opportunities in the coming weeks.

Human Rights Day – December 10

December 8, 2023

This year marks 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The United Nations General Assembly created the UDHR to establish that every human being is treated as an individual and has inalienable rights.

The UDHR is a legal document listing the rights everyone is entitled to. This means all humans have the same rights regardless of religion, language, gender, race, colour, social opinion, property, or status.

Did you know, the UDHR is written in over 500 languages and is the world’s most translated document? It was proclaimed in Paris, 1948 and continues to be known as groundbreaking and a global pledge.

The theme for Human Rights Day 2023 is Freedom, Equality and Justice for All.

RRC Polytech is committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion on every campus. The College is dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all staff, faculty, and students. You can read more about your human rights at the RRC Polytech library and visit the book display in the library hallway for recommended reading.

Local Human Rights Day events:

RRC Polytech instructor and knowledge keeper Marilyn Dykstra is facilitating a workshop tomorrow (Saturday, December 9) at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) called Opikinawasowin – The process of lifting children and growing sacredness. In this free workshop, which runs from 11a.m. to 2p.m., participants will discover and reflect on their connections with each other, with balance and with human rights through teachings and a traditional tea. Registration is required

The CMHR is also offering free admission on December 10. You can visit the museum’s galleries to learn more about our human rights and take part in activities for visitors of all ages.

TED TALKS:

Access, Equity and Justice: A World Where Women’s Rights are Human Rights (Emilie Songolo)

Stand Up: How You Can Be A Human Rights Warrior (John Shattuck)

PODCASTS:

Justice Matters Podcast

Rights Back at You

The Rights Track

Message on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6, 2023

The following message may trigger powerful emotions, especially for those with lived experience of victimization and violence. It is recommended that you read the message when you feel safe and supported. Resources are available, including REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors), a community for survivors, a 24-7 Crisis Line, and additional support services for those affected by gender-based violence.

Today, December 6, RRC Polytech recognizes the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Our flags are lowered at half-mast, and we ask that the College community observe a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. in the classroom, your workspace or at home.

December 6, 1989, 14 women, mostly students, who were studying in the field of engineering at Montreal’s École Polytechnique were killed at the hands of violent misogyny. Another 14 women were left injured and many more people were deeply traumatized by witnessing the horrific tragedy.

Today, we remember: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewic.

All these women were denied the bright futures ahead of them. Several women were mere days away from completing the final course of their program, with jobs and travel plans lined up, ready to make great contributions to our society.

December 6is a painful reminder that such heinous violence is not merely something of the distant past. Women and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continue to be victimized and targeted by gender-based violence, globally, nationally and within our province.

Recently within Manitoba, we have heard the difficult details of the murder of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit peoples. Over the last 30 years, there have been over 1,400 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit (MMIWG2S) in Canada, and the loss of these lives is a stark reminder of this ongoing endemic issue.

Any life lost is a tragedy. Those lost could be our colleagues, mothers, daughters, sisters or aunts.

While today is somber a time, a moment to grieve the futures that were robbed of the 14 women – and all those we’ve lost due to gender-based violence – it’s also a time to foster hope. Together, we can take action and foster hope for a better future for women and girls, and remind ourselves of the deeply important “why” behind our shared commitment to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do.

It’s up to us as a College community to create safer, inclusive spaces where no matter what someone’s gender expression is, they can show up as their authentic selves, pursue their chosen education and future, and succeed along the journey.

I invite you to join the College community in commemorating those we’ve lost and fostering hope for a better future free of gender-based violence. There are several ways you can show your support for the elimination of violence against women:

  • Observe a moment of silence today at 11:00 a.m.

  • Wear a white ribbon to symbolize your pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
    • Ribbons are available at the Student Association offices, Security Services (NDC and PGI), Campus Stores, Parking Office (NDC), and they have been sent to Regional Campuses.

  • Attend Women and Gender Equity Manitoba’s vigil this evening at 5:30 p.m. at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.
  • Learn more about gender-based violence and supports available.

  • Today and throughout the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (from November 25 to December 10), add your voice to the conversation and share the ways you are being part of the solution to end gender-based violence. Use the hashtag #16Days.​​​​​​​

Today is an incredibly difficult time for many. Take good care of yourselves, and if you’re able to, take care of those around you. If you need someone to talk to, RRC Polytech staff have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program through Homewood Health. Supports are available for students through Campus Well-Being.

December 1 is World AIDS Day

December 1, 2023

World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care around the world. First established in 1988 by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, the theme of World AIDS Day 2023 is “Let communities lead” and serves as an opportunity for communities worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for those living with HIV, and commemorate those who have passed away from HIV-related illnesses. It is also a reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is an infection that attacks the body’s immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the disease. HIV targets the body’s white blood cells, weakening the immune system and reducing natural resistance to other diseases. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most important global public health issues in history.

Please visit the World Health Organization (WHO)’s fact page to read detailed information about the transmission and prevention of HIV.

There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, it has become a manageable chronic health condition enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives. It is treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) using drugs to stop the virus from replicating in the body, allowing a person’s immune system to get stronger. This helps them to fight other infections, but currently ART must be administered every day for the rest of a person’s life to be effective.

Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS so promoting understanding and empathy empowers us to protect ourselves, to challenge misconceptions and to become advocates for change. World AIDS Day is a rallying cry for all people to commit to working toward a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat.

RRC Polytech’s Gender and Sexual Diversity (GSD) working group is hosting a presentation about HIV prevention and safety with guest speaker Shauna Fay from Nine Circles Community Health Centre at 11:30 a.m. on December 1st. All staff and students are welcome to attend, pick up some information pamphlets, enjoy light refreshments and have a chance to win some prizes. Join us in person at The Cave on the Notre Dame Campus or register to join online.

Additional Resources:

Manitoba Health

Manitoba Care Pathway

Manitoba HIV Program

Nine Circles Community Health Centre

Sisters of Fire

World AIDS Day.org

APTN story on spiking HIV rates among Indigenous People

The Bicycle : Fighting AIDS with Community Medicine (video)

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

November 30, 2023

The following message contains content related to gender-based violence, and may cause strong emotions to arise, especially for those with lived experience. It is recommended that you read the message when you feel safe and supported. Resources are available to support those in need, including REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors), a community for survivors, 24-7 Crisis Line, and additional support services for those affected by gender-based violence. If you are in an emergency situation, please call 9-1-1.

The United Nations’ campaign, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, is a global movement that calls for the end to violence against women, women-identifying persons, and girls. November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marks the start of the #16Days, which run through to Human Rights Day on December 10.

Through grassroots organizations and movements, including #MeToo, there’s been global traction to prevent and address the critical human rights issue of gender-based violence. Leading up to International Human Rights Day on December 10, it’s important to recognize that this issue is extremely relevant right now, globally and at home.

As reported by the UN, gender-based violence affects 1 in 3 women, with risks increasing during humanitarian emergencies or when women lack access to essential rights such as education and healthcare.

Moreover, while violence affects women worldwide, certain groups such as women with disabilities, adolescent girls and older women, often face greater barriers in having their voices heard or accessing critical support.

What can you do to raise awareness about and help eliminate gender-based violence?

Aligning with the Government of Canda’s theme for 2023, Listen. Learn. Act., there are several steps you can take:

  • Learn more about gender-based violence
  • Watch a related movie, video or documentary from the National Film Board of Canada
  • 16 ways you can help end gender-based violence
  • Become an ally by adopting these simple but powerful actions all year long:
    • Listen: be open to learning from the experiences of others
    • Believe: support survivors and those affected by violence. It is very important that you say the words ‘’I believe you’’ and ‘’This is not your fault’’
    • Educate (yourself and others): learn the facts about GBV; know what your workplace policies say about violence and harassment; take a course; participate in an event
    • Speak out: add your voice to call out violence
    • Intervene: find a safe way to help when you see acts of gender-based violence. Name what you see. Express your concern and ask how you can help. Intervening can also mean providing support and resources
    • Act: give your time or donate to organizations working to end gender-based violence

Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

In Canada, we recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6, to commemorate the 14 women at Polytechnique Montréal who lost their lives due to violent misogyny.

All are welcome to join Women and Gender Equity Manitoba, RRC Polytech and the community to commemorate the lives of the 14 women and foster hope for a better future free of gender-based violence.

  • Wednesday, December 6, 2023 – 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
    Doors open at 5:00 p.m.
    Event program starts at 5:30 p.m.
    Light refreshments and time for community at 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: Roundhouse Auditorium, Manitou a bii Bii daziigae, Exchange District campus
    319 Elgin Ave., Winnipeg, MB
    Free parking available at Market Lands development lot (site of the former Public Safety building).
  • The event will also be livestreamed via youtube.com/ManitobaGovernment

On December 6, students and staff are encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. and wear a white ribbon to signify their support for the end to gender-based violence. White ribbons are available at the following on-campus locations as of Friday, December 1:

  • Exchange District Campus
    • Campus Store – Main floor of Building P
    • RRC Polytech Students’ Association – P110
    • Security Services – Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, Room 100
       
  • Notre Dame Campus
    • Campus Store – Mall Level (just off the bus loop)
    • Parking Services – AB38
    • RRC Polytech Students’ Association – CM20
    • Security Services – C115

Stay tuned to the Diversity blog, Staff Forum, and Staff/Student News for upcoming Human Rights Day posts and resources to support further learning.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: December 3

November 27, 2023

The United Nations General Assembly declared December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) to raise an understanding of disability issues, and foster support for the rights, dignity, and well-being of persons with disabilities. This year’s theme “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities,” calls for commitment through enhanced actions and international cooperation, to make the SDGs a reality for, with and by persons with disabilities. Red River College Polytechnic will be signing the SDG accord on November 30, joining hundreds of colleges and universities around the world in a pledge to lead transformative change by sharing and reporting on their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

RRC Polytech is committed to continuing its work to remove barriers in post-secondary education, and to promote access and participation in all aspects and activities of the College. The College believes in inclusion, and will continue our work to meet, and exceed where possible, the mandate of The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA). The following are some of the plans and supports we currently have at the College:

Here are two opportunities to celebrate, learn and commemorate International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

Manitoba Accessibility Office Webinar

Join the Manitoba Accessibility Office (MAO) for a free webinar: “Celebrating Success, Challenging Systematic Ableism and Inspiring the Future of Accessibility” with keynote speaker Carly Fox, Disability Advocate 

Date: Thursday, November 30|1:00 – 3:00pm

Register for the MAO IDPD 2023 Webinar

Manitoba Employment Equity Practitioners Association Event

The Manitoba Employment Equity Practitioners Association (MEEPA) will be hosting an in-person event “Project Search:  Opportunities to Diversify Your Workplace” in honour of Indigenous Disability Employment Awareness Month (November) and International Day for Persons with Disabilities (December 3).

Date:Monday, December 4|8:30 am to noon; Location: Manitoba Hydro Place (360 Portage Avenue) 

Register for the MEEPA Event

RRC Polytech is committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming, supportive and respectful of the dignity and independence of people with disabilities and will continue to identify and implement strategies to ensure that individuals in the College community have equal opportunity to achieve their employment and educational goals.

 If you have any questions or feedback, please email diversity@rrc.ca


Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 16, 2023

The following message contains content – mentions of transphobia, trans violence, and suicide – that may trigger strong emotions, especially for those with lived experience.  

Post written by Justine Hawley, Chair, Gender and Sexual Diversity Group at RRC Polytech

Transgender individuals have existed throughout history, appearing in various cultures and societies long before the common era. Despite their historical presence, society’s treatment of members of the transgender community has been marked by discrimination, prejudice, and violence. The vast timeline of human existence illustrates the normativity of transgender lives. Despite this, contemporary society still struggles with acceptance and equality for transgender, non-binary, and other gender non-conforming individuals.

The term “trans” serves as an umbrella encompassing a spectrum of gender identities that do not align with an individual’s assigned sex at birth. This definition encapsulates transgender individuals, non-binary persons, and others who transcend conventional gender norms. Despite this broad understanding, societal resistance and discrimination against trans individuals persist, often stemming from ignorance, fear, or deeply ingrained biases.

Transphobia, the systematic prejudice and discrimination against transgender individuals, has created an oppressive environment that deeply affects their lives. This hostility not only threatens their existence but also leads to alarming rates of violence and suicide among the trans community. The struggle against transphobia has left many individuals physically and emotionally scarred, emphasizing the urgency for societal change and acceptance.

Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed annually on November 20th, serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost to transphobic violence. It is a day to honor the resilience of those who fought for equality, acknowledging their sacrifices and contributions towards a more inclusive society. Taking a moment to reflect on the struggles faced by transgender individuals and commemorating those who are no longer with us is an essential step in advocating for a more equitable future.

Recognizing that a future without trans individuals is untenable and embracing a departure from cisnormativity are crucial steps towards creating a more harmonious and accepting world. It necessitates a collective effort to dismantle discriminatory systems, foster empathy, and celebrate the diversity of human experiences.

In acknowledging the historical presence and ongoing struggles of transgender individuals, we can strive for a society where everyone is respected, valued, and embraced for their unique identities. Embracing inclusivity and understanding is pivotal in building a world where transgender individuals can thrive without fear of discrimination or violence.

If you or anyone you know is in crisis, contact one of these supports for transgender-specific guidance:

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at diversity@rrc.ca.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›