Portage la Prairie is spreading the importance of Anti-Racism again this year, after the initiative began last year.

Local Immigration Partnership program coordinator Mitch Tilk and cultural connector Megan Romphf are involved and encouraging everyone to help our city become a leader in the cause.

"Anti-Racism Week is going to begin on June 6th to 11th this year," says Tilk. 

"There are some things that are back by popular demand from last year," adds Romphf. "The Portage Regional Library will be doing a scavenger hunt throughout the week. Get in touch with them if that's something that you'd like to do.  It is anti-racism based. PCI is doing a human library, but it is only going to be open to students from grade 9 to 12. They're going to have people come in and tell their real-life stories. It's very interesting and it'll be good for the students to learn about different cultures and the struggles that some people go through."

She notes Indigenous art and other cultural paintings will be made along the Crescent walk, too.  

"The exhibition for the cricket match this year will be on Tuesday, June 7th, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Republic Park Diamond 2," continues Romphf. "We have the Manitoba Cricket Association coming back again to bring players, so if anybody in the community is interested in playing cricket in an actual match, please reach out to us. The Pickleball Association has reached out to us and wanted to be a family-friendly newcomer immigrant night, so that they could learn about pickleball and how to play."

Romphf says that will take place on Thursday, June 9th. 

"We have the Anti-Racism March this year, but we're doing it a little different," notes Romphf. "We're going to be starting at the National Indigenous Residential School Museum and we're going to be ending at Stride Place, where we will have the bannock hut. Real Foods will be handing out some goodies, some refreshments and some speeches will take place there."

She adds Communities Building Youth Futures is also doing a tile kit that will be put on display in a location in the city. 

The first Anti-Racism Week took place last year in September. It included a march with various organizations involved in activities. 

"This year, it's a little different," says Tilk. "We're still doing the march. What the organizations put on themselves over the week is up to them. So, some of the events they're going to be a little different. Basically, we're just hoping that we can, as a community, show that we care about this issue, that we're a community of anti-racists, and that we want to make sure that everybody in Portage can experience the same great Portage that I do."

Tilk notes that the progress we've made against racism is definite when you look at the grand scheme of history, but there's still a long way to go.

"I think we have an opportunity here, as a community, to really actually be leaders on this subject," continues Tilk. "We are coming from Treaty 1 Territory. I think Portage could be a symbolic place where we do it again, as kind of the gateway into the prairies. I think it would be especially meaningful if Portage could be a leader on reconciliation and anti-racism."

Romphf adds they're also holding a blanket exercise. 

"That is going to be led by Cornell Pashe, Darrell Taylor and Jill fast," notes Romphf. "They're local Indigenous people as well as they have strong ties with the community. We're inviting anybody who would like to register for that through their organizations to please do so when that comes out on the calendar, which will be later this week."

She says a video is being presented by Portage Learning and Literacy Centre on a child's take on what it means to be a friend.

If you'd like to check out everything in detail concerning what's taking place, log into portagerc.com/anti-racism.