Filipino BC hosts series of town halls for cultural centre project

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  • Filipino BC is hosting a series of town hall meetings with members and supporters of the community
    regarding the creation of a Filipino Cultural Centre.
    Working as a coalition of grassroots organizations and individuals, Filipino BC is collaborating with all
    levels of government, partners, and stakeholders.
    The town halls are as follows:
    Wednesday, July 5, 6-7:30pm, Philippine Consulate, #660-999 Canada Place, Vancouver
    Monday, July 10, 6-730pm, Star Box Express Office, Unit 2125 – 21331 Gordon Way, Richmond
    Friday, July 14, 6-730pm, 711 West 14th Street, North Vancouver
    Thursday, July 20, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver
    Sunday, July 23, 6-730pm, LA Matheson School Library, 9484 122 Street, Surrey
    Thursday, July 27, 6-730pm, BC Government Employees Union, 4911 Canada Way, Burnaby
    The meetings aim to give the community a voice in shaping a future cultural centre that will celebrate
    Filipino heritage and provide a home for various services.
    The town halls will provide a venue to gather input and insights from members of the community on
    what they want to see in a Filipino Cultural Centre.
    Filipino BC is also conducting a public survey related to the cultural centre initiative.
    The poll seeks input on desired services, programs, facilities and amenities that the centre will feature
    and deliver.
    “The reaction from the Filipino community has been inspiring and encouraging,” Filipino BC chair Rafael
    Joseph ‘RJ’ Aquino says about the survey.
    The Filipino Cultural Centre, envisioned to be a state-of-the-art community and cultural hub, celebrates
    the community’s rich heritage and culture and offers a space for learning and engagement with Filipinos
    across B.C.
    “This step of engaging the public to collect data gives voice to the nearly 175,000 Filipinos in B.C. The
    importance of this information cannot be understated,” Aquino said about the survey.
    “This gives all levels of government, our partners and other stakeholders tangible, actionable data that
    will empower us to make informed and inclusive decisions.”
    One of the fastest-growing diasporas in Canada, Filipinos have played a key and important role in
    building B.C. since the late 1800s. Yet British Columbians of Filipino descent report being disadvantaged
    and marginalized, and continue to face abuse and racism on several fronts.
    Federal, provincial, and municipal governments recognize the importance of building the Filipino
    Cultural Centre in B.C. and what it means to the community.
    The latest support came from the city of Vancouver when the council June 14, 2023 voted unanimously
    to support the development of a centre in the city. In a December 2022 mandate letter, B.C. Premier
    David Eby directed Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports Lana Popham and Parliamentary
    Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives Mable Elmore to advance this work. Elmore, the first MLA of Filipino
    heritage in B.C., has been calling for a Filipino Cultural Centre since her initial election into office in 2009.
    “As more people hear about this project, the more they want to contribute to it,” added Aquino. “This
    public survey will paint a complete picture of why this planned Filipino Cultural Centre is so crucial for
    our shared future.”
    “We want to give the community an opportunity to express their vision as we want the centre to be
    intergenerational, intercultural and committed towards reconciliation. It’s a centre that’s built and led
    by Filipinos, and it’s a centre for everyone.”
    The survey is available in English and Tagalog, and will also be translated into other major Filipino
    languages. The survey is open for everyone to fill out and runs until August 17, 2023. A “What We
    Heard” Report will follow. For details and updates, please visit filipinobc.com.

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