REACH Edmonton

With policies affecting immigration and refugees in Canada making headlines over the past 18 months, REACH is focusing on these issues through a local lens at the 2017 Annual General Meeting and Showcase Celebration. 

This year's theme is Diversity is our Strength: Stories of Challenge and Triumph. Judy Piercey and Ian Stewart of Pen and Lens Communications are presenting the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion about the immigrant and refugee experience in Edmonton. Panelists include Judy Piercey, Joseph Luri, Mohammed Ayyash and Arlene Morales. 

Judy and Ian spent three months capturing the work of the REACH Immigrant & Refugee Initiative (RIRI) cultural navigators, exploring the intersections of money, gender roles, communication and LGBTQ. Along the way, they discovered an inspiring story of innovative community leadership, which they tell through pictures and words. They will share the stories they heard while shedding light on the specific challenges facing new arrivals to Canada in Edmonton. 

REACH Edmonton contracted Piercey and Stewart to record these experiences of immigrants and refugees in Edmonton.

“Many Edmontonians may not realize that our city has a long history of welcoming refugees,” said Piercey. “These stories share the experiences of people who have escaped civil war, refugee camps and other dangers. Through them we can learn so much about the contributions newcomers are making to Edmonton.”

The potential positive impact these new Canadians will have on Edmonton and society is made apparent through the stories of families who are just beginning their journey in Canada.

“We think it’s important to tell their stories because by doing so, we put a human face to the survivors of crises that can seem far away,” said Lindsay Daniller, director of community initiatives and strategic development for REACH Edmonton. “By telling the stories of refugees who share the same hopes and dreams of all Canadians, we are breaking down the barriers of ignorance, prejudice and racism. By breaking down those barriers, we are helping people understand each other.”

Healthier families make safer communities, which is the core of the RIRI cultural navigators’ work in helping create community-based support networks that assist with the challenges associated with settling into a new country. REACH works with a variety of different ethno-cultural groups (especially through RIRI) including Eritrean, Filipino, French African, Middle Eastern, Oromo, Somali, Sudanese and LGBTQ+ persons. 

This evening is an opportunity for Edmontonians to come together to explore how we can create a brighter future that is inclusive for all. 

For more information, or to register, click here