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Human Rights Commissioner to visit Penticton to talk about hate

Local leaders have been invited to the SOICS event
Elder Grace Greyeyes of the Penticton Indian Band cut the ribbon for the official ceremonial opening of the rainbow crosswalk at Queen’s Park Elementary School. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner will be in Penticton tomorrow, June 7 to host an event with local decision makers and community leaders about the recommendations from her recently completed inquiry into hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioner, Kasari Govender, will explore how local leaders can take concrete action in the Okanagan to respond to and prevent hate like racism, gender-based violence and online hate.

Organized by the South Okanagan Immigrant Community Services, among the community leaders invited to attend from across the South Okanagan and Similkameen are leaders of the local Indigenous Bands.

The chief topic of the event will be the recommendations in the final report from Govender’s inquiry into the rise of hate incidents across B.C. during the pandemic.

“We have findings and recommendations from the inquiry and now it is time to take steps towards addressing hate and ensuring we are ready to respond to hate in future states of crisis,” said Govender in a press release.

The timing of the meeting on hate is particularly striking given recent acts of hate when the recently installed rainbow crosswalk was vandalized at the Queen’s Park Elementary School.

Local leaders were quick to condemn the hateful comments made on social media and the vandalism.

READ MORE: Penticton blesses and cuts ribbon for rainbow crosswalk

The recommendations from the report include ways that local governments and communities can address hate, and Govender will present how local leaders can take action to respond and prevent hate.

The inquiry was launched in August 2021 to review data, independent research and speak with thousands of people across the province. The final report was released in March 2023 and can be found online at

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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