Why X Matters #2: Sense of Belonging

Why X Matters is a four-part, limited series podcast that explores civic engagement by unpacking The Winnipeg Foundation’s Vital Signs® 2022. Join us each Thursday in September to hear from experts on the topics of Trust in Institutions, Sense of Belonging, The Environment, and The Empathy Deficit.

Welcome to Episode 2 of Why X Matters. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Winnipeggers experienced a high sense of belonging overall, but that sense of belonging has plummeted over the past several years. This episode explores the sense of belonging among different parts of our community and how to build a more inclusive Manitoba. Our panel for this episode includes:

Michael Redhead Champagne is a community leader working towards a revolution that dismantles harmful systems and builds up new ones based on justice, equity and love. Hailing from Winnipeg’s North End with family roots in Shamattawa First Nation, Michael is a host, helper, published author, on-screen personality and sought after public speaker.

Ashley Smith is the Director of Advocacy at Rainbow Resource Centre. Ashley has been working with the 2SLGBTQ+ community in various ways since 2020, specifically in areas related to public health and older adults. He started at Rainbow in 2021, running their older adult program. Then, last spring, as Rainbow broke ground on their new location at 545 Broadway, which will include Canada’s first affordable housing for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults, Ashley stepped into the role of Director of Advocacy. Now he oversees the education and communications teams just as we’re seeing a surge of anti-queer/anti-trans rhetoric across Canada.

Shereen Denetto is the Executive Director at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM), an inner-city agency in Winnipeg that has provided affordable transitional housing and holistic wrap-around supports to newcomers to Canada for the past 32 years. Drawing from the principles of human rights, community development, and Truth and Reconciliation, Shereen works with the team at IRCOM to provide best practices trauma-informed services for refugee newcomer families and to reduce barriers so that our newest Canadians can integrate well and find belonging in their new home.

Five people sit around a table with microphones in CJNU's studio. From left to right: Ashley Smith, Shereen Denetto, Shauna Turnley, Nolan Bicknell, Michael Redhead Champagne

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