Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

News and Events

May is Jewish Heritage Month

May 8, 2024

As of 2018, Parliament designated May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, celebrating the contributions Jewish Canadians have made over the last 250 years and continue to make within communities across the country.

This type of observance helps us understand one another on a deeper level by highlighting communities and cultures. Acknowledging and appreciating the important contributions that Jewish Canadians have made to Canada from social to economic to political and more, highlights the country we have built together.

Learn more about Jewish culture and history, and celebrate Jewish Heritage Month with the following resources:

National Film Board of Canada:

  • CCDI Webinar: Antisemitism: How to recognize and prevent it in the workplace
    • Login is required. Free to sign up for RRC Polytech staff.

May 6 marked Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the lives and heroism the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust. Following Yom HaShoah, there are week-long commemorations in our community, including synagogue services, film screenings, and educational programs. Visit the Jewish Federation of Manitoba’s website for more information.

Yom HaShoah

May 6, 2024

Today, May 6, 2024 we recognize Yom HaShoah, also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorates the lives and heroism of Jewish people who died in the Holocaust. Each spring, the community comes together at the Manitoba Legislature with municipal, provincial, and federal government representatives to commemorate the six million Jews who perished in the Shoah.

Today, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg will host the Annual Public Holocaust Commemoration from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm at the Grand Staircase, Manitoba Legislative Building, 450 Broadway.

This ceremony features candle lighting, music, readings and prayers. All are welcome to attend. Register for the commemoration event here.

Following Yom HaShoah, there are week-long commemorations in the community, including synagogue services, film screenings, and educational programs.

The Important Influence of Women in Information, Communication and Technology

April 25, 2024

RRC Polytech celebrates International Girls in ICT Day 2024

Every year on April 25, RRC Polytech celebrates International Girls in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Day. RRC Polytech and the instructors within the ICT program share the same values to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive place both inside our classrooms and the industry once they graduate.

Currently inside global cybersecurity, men make up 78% of the industry. However, the percentage of women in that sector is rising by the decades, with 13% of women 60 or older, and now 24% of women under 30 in the workforce. At RRC Polytech, we see this as a room for growth inside our programs.

In a study published by ICS2, over half of the testing sample believed that building an inclusive, more diverse team is crucial in the security team’s success. This is an important value that Hosna Safiarian, RRC Polytech Instructor in the Data Science and Machine Learning program, also believes is critical to the future success inside the ICT sector.

Hosna Safiarian, RRC Polytech Instructor in the Data Science and Machine Learning program
Hosna Safiarian, RRC Polytech Instructor in the Data Science and Machine Learning program

“Empowering women in the IT field will foster democracy in the IT world. Democracy has consistently engendered creativity, innovation, prosperity, and justice in society, and the IT world is no exception. We can see these diverse ideas infusing fresh vitality into IT products and services, akin to new blood coursing through veins,” says Hosna.

Hosna Safiarian was born in Iran, in the Middle East, where gender norms within careers were heavily influenced by society. Despite this, she found a silver lining and turned challenges into opportunities in the field of IT.

When Hosna entered high school, she initiated a coding competition, leading a team of girls to run different algorithms in computer science. This experience taught her a valuable lesson: ‘We can achieve good results if we try hard enough; we just need to be brave.’

Throughout her career she has made significant efforts as a woman in the fields of academics and the IT industry. She volunteered to teach computer science topics in girls’ schools in Iran to prepare them for this field. Hosna has published more than 15 articles in Persian and English about data science, which serve as valuable references for Iranian students.

Additionally, Hosna has served as a teaching assistant at the Masters and PhD levels, mentoring many female students with their thesis in the field of data science. With their help, she has created a significant amount of educational content on data science, Artificial Intelligence and big data topics.

In the IT industry, she has overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers. By completing numerous international courses and obtaining numerous certificates, she has succeeded in securing a position as a data science expert in Iran’s industry.

Now, as an Instructor at RRC Polytech, Hosna shares her passion for ICT with her students.

“I hope that more girls will fall in love with math and coding, enter the IT world, and turn the challenges of this field into a unique growth opportunity.”

She always tells her students, ‘Wherever your challenges lie, that’s where your potential for growth exists,’ – inspiration she’s gained from Harnessing Jung’s Wisdom on Fears.

In Canada there are currently 25,000 unfilled positions in cybersecurity, so bringing more women into ICT continues to be a crucial step in creating a more diverse and inclusive industry.

RRC Polytech is encouraging more women to enter the field through a training and work-integrated learning pilot with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and Microsoft.

The pilot will recruit 20 students who are women in RRC Polytech’s Information Technology programs to acquire foundational Microsoft Cybersecurity training and certification, mentorship, and experiential work-integrated learning – all at no cost to the student.

To learn more about the ICTC and Microsoft Cybersecurity Training Pilot, or to register, visit here.

Celebrate Diversity Month 2024

April 24, 2024

Celebrate Diversity Month is observed in April every year to recognize, celebrate and honour the diversity of the world around us. Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) refers to diversity as the variety of unique dimensions, qualities, and characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, economic status, physical abilities, life experiences, and other perspectives that we all possess.

At RRC Polytech we recognize that diversity within our communities is one of our greatest strengths. We are committed to fostering working and learning environments that recognize and celebrate the diversity of our students and our staff. Together, we are working toward a place where we understand, embrace and uplift each other’s culture, and where all are welcomed for who they are, and for what we can build together.

All staff at RRC Polytech have access to the CCDI 2024 Diversity Calendar to learn about religious or cultural days of significance that are celebrated or commemorated by our students and staff. We have highlighted some of the celebrations/observances that our staff and students celebrate based on this calendar. If there is a holiday that you celebrate or observe, and would like to add to the calendar, please fill out the Celebrate Everything form.

In recognition of this month, we would like to share resources and support to help us grow in our understanding of diverse cultures, perspectives and equip us in creating an inclusive working and learning environment.

Passover – April 22-30, 2024 

April 23, 2024

Passover (Pesach) is a sacred Jewish holiday celebrated around the world each spring to commemorate the liberation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. It is observed during the Hebrew month of Nisan and began this year at sunset on Monday, April 22 and will last until nightfall on April 30.  

During these eight days, this sacred holiday is celebrated with Seder feasts of traditional and symbolic foods, like matzah (an unleavened bread) and bitter herbs, the re-telling of the Exodus story and prayer. This holiday holds profound significance and a reminder of resilience and hope. It is a time to reflect on the enduring spirit of the Jewish people. 

At Red River College Polytechnic (RRC Polytech), diversity is one of our greatest strengths and that the College is home to thousands of employees and students from all different backgrounds – including those from the Jewish community. 

Chag Pesach Sameach (Happy Passover) to all staff, faculty and students who celebrate this holiday.  

May this celebration hold joyous times for you and your families.  

International Day of Pink 2024

April 10, 2024

International Day of Pink, also known as Day of Pink, is celebrated annually on the second Wednesday of April to celebrate diversity, acceptance, courage, and inclusivity within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

Day of Pink is for people who have previously, or recently, experienced discrimination because of their sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression. This day urges people around the world to stand in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to continue fighting for equality and acceptance.

At RRC Polytech, Campus Well-Being in partnership with the Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group hosted a booth at Notre Dame Campus on April 10 to create awareness and share resources. Staff and students had the opportunity to create a customized button to mark the day.

You can explore the International Day of Pink website, to read more about this year’s theme, and to learn more about the anniversary of three important milestones: the birth of the Trans flag, the Brunswick Four, and the Depathologization of Homosexuality.

World Autism Awareness Day

March 28, 2024

World Autism Awareness Day is an annual observance on April 2, designated in 2008 by the United Nations to acknowledge the lived experiences, bring awareness to the inequities and advocate for the rights of individuals who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (or autism).

Also known as World Autism Acceptance Day, the observance highlights the importance of accepting, supporting and including persons with autism, so they can lead a full life and make meaningful contributions at work, at home and in the community.

Learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder and how you can recognize World Autism Awareness Day:

On April 2, and every day, may we recognize the unique contributions of persons with autism, and continue to create more inclusive environments where everyone feels accepted.

International Transgender Day of Visibility

March 28, 2024

International Transgender Day of Visibility is observed on March 31 for celebrating Trans people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by them worldwide.

At RRC Polytech, we observed this day on Wednesday, March 27 by inviting Elder Albert McLeod for a talk centered on perspectives on understanding Transgender identities, challenges faced by the Transgender community, Two Spirit advocacy within the Winnipeg Trans community, and the importance of visibility and allyship. You can watch the recording of the talk here – Trans Day of Visibility with Elder Albert.

We invite you to celebrate this day by signing a heart to show your support in the Spectrum (FM66, Notre Dame Campus) or by adding a supportive message on this Kudoboard.

One way we can support in creating an inclusive work and learning environment is by using gender-inclusive language and preferred pronouns. Library and Academic Services team has created this Inclusive Language Guide to help us in this journey.

If you have any questions or need more information, contact diversity@rrc.ca

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2024

Today, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21 – the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

Since then, some racist systems have been dismantled but, in many regions, too many individuals, communities, and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings. We can use this day to reflect on the fact that Indigenous peoples and racialized communities continue to experience racism and discrimination in Canada every day. We can re-commit to take action against racial discrimination in all forms to ensure a world where everyone has equitable access to all aspects of society.

Learn more about the United Nation’s theme for 2024: “A Decade of Recognition, Justice, and Development: Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent”.

Film Screening: The Skin We’re In

Today, the Social Justice Engagement Club is an initiative put on by the Anti-Racism Action Committee to create a space for students, faculty and staff to foster a learning community that advances Truth and Reconciliation, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

In recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, join the Social Justice Engagement Club for a film screening and guided conversation for faculty, staff and students. We’ll provide snacks and you could win a book.

We will be screening the CBC documentary, “The Skin We’re In.”

Day: Today, Thursday, March 21, 2024

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00pm

Locations:

  • Notre Dame Campus: Active Learning Classroom (Library, CM27)
  • Exchange District Campus: Roundhouse Auditorium

Read more about the event and register on the diversity blog.

Register now.

Anti-Racism Training:

As a College community we have a responsibility to commit to standing up, speaking out, and pushing back against racism in all its forms.

We know diversity is one of our greatest strengths and the College is home to thousands of employees and students from all different backgrounds. Every one of us brings a unique perspective, experience, and connection to our workplace and classrooms.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to complete your Anti-Racism Training for Employees, please make time to complete this training and learn more about privilege, unconscious bias and decision-making, the difference between anti-racism and systemic racism, why microagressions are called “death by a thousand cuts” and why silence makes things worse. Through Anti-Racism: A Journey to Allyship training, you will leave with concrete actions you can take towards racial equity and tackling discrimination that make a difference.

Complete your training here.

March 15: International Day to Combat Islamophobia

March 15, 2024

PHOTO:UN/ Martine Perret

Red River College Polytechnic strives to make campus a safe and inclusive space for all. Stand with us against fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims, and all forms of racism, religious discrimination, and harassment.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has recognized March 15 as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia. The UN defines Islamophobia as “a fear, prejudice and hatred of Muslims that leads to provocation, hostility, and intolerance by means of threatening, harassment, abuse, incitement and intimidation of Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the online and offline world. Motivated by institutional, ideological, political, and religious hostility that transcends into structural and cultural racism, it targets the symbols and markers of being a Muslim.” This designation by the UN is a response to the increasing incidents of Islamophobia. According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, in the last year there has been 1300% increase in cases of Islamophobia as a result of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The significance of March 15 lies in its marking of the anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque shootings, a tragic event where 51 individuals who identify as Muslims, were killed.

Reflecting on a similar tragedy closer to home, on January 29, 2017, six lives were tragically lost, and 19 others were severely injured in an attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Sainte-Foy. To commemorate the victims of this attack—one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canadian history—January 29 has been proclaimed as National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque attack and Action against Islamophobia.

With over 2 billion followers, Islam is the world’s second-largest religion accounting for 24.9% of the global population.

Resources:

For Educators:

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 ›