Not just an urban issue: Huron County takes aim at racism, inequity

·2 min read

Huron County has launched a series of online workshops and panel discussions to promote diversity and inclusion in the rural region.

Humanizing Our Differences, a series run by the county’s Immigration Partnership, aims to create a more welcoming community through discussions on equity, micro-aggressions, privilege and systemic racism.

“In our region, we don’t necessarily have the diversity that is present in urban areas, and therefore sometimes these conversations or topics aren’t seen as prevalent here,” said Kristin Crane, the Immigration Partnership’s program co-ordinator.

The virtual series comes in the wake of last year's growing Black Lives Matter movement and increased awareness around diversity and racism issues.

“There’s a lot of things that have really developed across the world over the last year or so, where it’s really come to our attention and forefront,” Crane said. “There’s a need to really embrace diversity and challenge our systems to make sure everybody experiences equity.”

Video panel discussions were launched at the end of February, with interactive online workshops beginning March 17 and running into April.

Topics include understanding cultural and racialized communities, how to be an ally, unconscious bias and micro-aggressions and why diversity matters in rural Ontario.

Guest speakers in the panel discussions and workshops include Londoners Leroy Hibbert and Dharshi Lacey, along with local Indigenous advocates, newcomers to the region, and community and business leaders with lived experience.

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing many from the province’s cities to smaller, more rural areas, Crane said there’s an opportunity for Huron County to welcome more newcomers, immigrants and families with diverse backgrounds.

“We know that there’s a need to have more newcomers in our community,” she said. “Diversity is always good. It creates that social and economic vibrancy that sometimes is dwindling in rural Ontario.”

The videos and workshops stream online at

Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press