A Kelowna non-profit has partnered with UBCO to launch an online reporting tool for discrimination, in hopes of better understanding experiences of residents of the Okanagan community.
Victims and witnesses of racist or otherwise discriminatory incidents in Kelowna are being asked to file a report on the Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) website, which includes describing the incident, what was said and when and where it happened.
"Collecting the data will really help us to target those solutions ... to unite against discrimination and to try to change some of our systems and what's happening in the community so that everyone can feel safe," KCR director of services Katelin Mitchell told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
Shirley Chau, a professor in UBCO's social work department, said solutions to discrimination in the community could include increased security in problem areas, victim support services and the creation of block watch programs.
Chau said reporting has been going on for a number of years, but a rise in discrimination-related incidents in the city made it evident that more thorough data collection was needed to try to address it.
"We need to make sense of why it's happening and how often it's happening and where it's happening and what happens to people after it's happened, what happens to their lives, what happens to their way of interacting with the community" Chau said.
"This affects everyone."
The project is looking for any stories about discrimination such as situations of racism, homophobia, transphobia, or sexism. Mitchell said any negative experience is worth reporting.
"Anything that affects [you] is worthwhile," she said.
Information collected will be kept confidential, and contact information can be provided if someone filing a report would like to be contacted by KCR to follow up.
Mitchell said for anyone who reports and requires additional assistance, KCR will arrange support.