Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable
The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable (EDI Roundtable) acts as a resource for the City of Port Coquitlam on promoting diversity, eliminating discrimination and engaging in community dialogue and action. The EDI Roundtable represents a diverse cross-section of citizens whose lived experiences promote and enable a rich and deeper understanding and dialogue on important equity, diversity and inclusion issues and opportunities.
Volunteer members are appointed by the Mayor for a term of one (1) year with the possibility of re-appointment for additional terms.
EDI Roundtable Terms of Reference
2023/2024 EDI Roundtable Members
- Agam Bokovza Mariash
- Becca (Yu) Lewis
- Carol Kim
- Delavar Ghadrshenass
- Deniz Bercic
- Elahe Birjandian
- Fernanda Friedrich
- Frank Lee
- Jas Qualitz
- Laura McCristall
- Lily Llaguno
- Liz Carr
- Lorraine Leon
- Meena Dhillon
- Mithila Karnik
- Noor Shaker
- Renu Seru
- Sunaina Sharma
Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy
In 2022, Council unanimously adopted the City’s first Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy, an important demonstration of commitment to Equity, Diversity and inclusion (EDI) in Port Coquitlam. The development of this policy involved EDI roundtable members providing input and lived experience to give a better understanding of the local realities of racism and the importance of this policy for the City. EDI members also provided input on how the City can best train and build capacity with staff to uphold this policy and continue to create a safe and respectful workplace for all.
Proclamation for International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
EDI roundtable members attended a special Council Meeting and received the City of Port Coquitlam’s Proclamation recognizing March 21st as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. EDI members addressed Council and spoke to the importance of this day in bringing awareness to the reality of racial discrimination and the importance of acknowledging this internationally recognized day as one step on the journey to towards building a more welcoming, inclusive, equitable and safe community.
Community Education and Awareness
The EDI roundtable identified the importance of recognizing awareness days and months to bring greater knowledge, understanding and appreciation of diversity in the City of Port Coquitlam. EDI members compiled a list of days of acknowledgement and cultural celebrations, along with providing input into a communication and community engagement plan. The addition of these cultural celebrations and days of acknowledgement in the City’s communication mediums and community engagement work will help increase and encourage inclusion, awareness, and acceptance.
Promoting Social Inclusion
Input from EDI roundtable members promoted actions to removing barriers and building further welcoming and inclusive City events. In addition to increasing awareness and acceptance, it is important for all members of our community to see themselves reflected, included and honoured in the City’s celebrations. EDI roundtable members were part of planning the inclusion of a greater breadth of diverse voices in events, including our May Days and Canada Day events. EDI roundtable input also led to the inclusion of American Sign Language and sensory friendly spaces at City events.
The EDI roundtable took part in discussions and collaborations with organizations to build our community capacity and build new relationships with community change agents. During Asian Heritage Month, the Asian Impact Society presented to the EDI roundtable and spoke to their organization’s goals to raise awareness on Asian racial injustice and build inclusive communities through unity, compassion, empathy and education. Downtown PoCo BIA also attended an EDI roundtable meeting to discuss opportunities to work together and support further inclusion. This led to Downtown PoCo BIA sponsoring the City’s PoCo Pride event to celebrate the LGBTQ2IA+ community.
Setting a Foundation
Since the Roundtable began in meeting in the fall of 2020, members have offered their insight and expertise to establish a Terms of Reference that outlines the mandate, roles and opportunities that will point the way to a more equitable and inclusive City. The year also included the critical work of establishing a safe space for the EDI Roundtable’s diverse voices to come together, build trust and open doors to engagement.
In response to the feedback provided by the EDI Roundtable, training and education for all City employees was implemented in 2021 to provide staff with tools to create and uphold a respectful, safe and inclusive workplace and community. Further education took place through the BC Human Right’s Commission and the Tri-city Local immigration Partnership’s Anti-Racism Initiative: Dismantling Barriers and Fostering Inclusion.
As part of drafting the City’s first Anti-Racism Policy, EDI Roundtable members provided input and lived experiences to give a better understanding of the local realities of racism and the importance of a policy of its kind for the City.
Improving social inclusion
The need for the City to promote the respect, knowledge, and appreciation of diversity and the inclusion of Indigenous and racialized communities in the cultural fabric of our City was a focus for the EDI Roundtable. This inspired neighborhood development initiatives such as the Little Library Read in Color Program and the inclusion of a greater breadth of diverse voices in events, including our May Days, Canada Day and Port Coquitlam’s first Pride in PoCo event.