A human rights city


Understanding the intersectionality of rights

Elsewhere in this magazine there is a very good description of a recent symposium The Winnipeg Foundation hosted for leaders from Canadian community foundations. It was a three-day event where colleagues could reflect on human rights issues that are core to our community-building work. You can read the article – Honing in on human rights.

Describing the agenda of what topics are discussed is different than the reality of actually participating. The stories shared were sometimes very personal. The speakers were more candid than might be the case in a larger public forum.

From the enthusiastic feedback we have already received, I know everyone has their own highlight. It was my first visit to a Mosque during prayers. The setting put all of us in a mindset to listen and better understand the realities of Islamophobia. I think it is natural to fear what you don’t understand. And certainly, the misunderstanding has been promoted by the entertainment industry and perhaps less intentionally by the news media. I won’t soon forget the lessons of that afternoon, and I know the experience will shape my future thinking.

Human rights cannot be segmented into individual elements because everything connects to everything else.

Rick Frost, Winnipeg Foundation CEO

Questions related to human rights have always been important to The Winnipeg Foundation. Our vision is ‘a Winnipeg where community life flourishes for all,’ and the last two words of that simple statement capture the essence of our mandate. The largest grant in our history ($6 million) went to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. In looking at our grant-making priorities today, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is a prominent priority. The Foundation has also provided significant support for refugees and asylum seekers. We take serious interest in gender equity, the rights of the LGBTQIA community and the growing importance of the environment as a human right. Human rights cannot be segmented into individual elements because everything connects to everything else.

Winnipeg has defined itself as a City of Human Rights. While this leadership symposium was one small step, it does represent the ongoing challenge of finding the time and the means to grow our knowledge and commitment towards making the vision a reality.

Foundation CEO, Rick Frost shares a message at the end of every Working Together magazine. Download or view the full Fall 2019 issue on our Publications page.

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