Anti-racism week kicked off today in Portage la Prairie and it was announced at City Hall downtown. Among the officials present was City youth councillor Jessica Ramachandran.

Ramachandran explains the importance of the cause.

"I know that change has been happening over the past few years," explains Ramachandran. "We are beginning to recognize more cultures, and there's a lot more people of colour moving to Portage. But I do think we can do a lot more because there are still controversies in our city and people still are experiencing racism and it can be very hurtful and harmful, and can really change our opinion on our community."

She notes it's an important issue to help everyone get involved to make a real, lasting change. 

The Indigenous community coordinator for Portage la Prairie Cornell Pashe says it's all about a conversation that has to happen. 

"Racism, it's everywhere, every city," notes Pashe. "For here in Portage la Prairie, there's a need to talk about it to get the discussion going, to look at what that means, and what it is -- the causes. With the huge diversity that we have in Portage, we're not immune to what's happening out there. It is here and we have to find ways in which to have those conversations. And if it means having an anti-racism week to start those discussions, then we look forward to that."

He notes the week will end with a march from Keeshkeemaquah to Stride Place.

"It's a start and there are good things to come," adds Pashe. 

Pashe says that if you hear or see something related to racism, a conversation is always good. 

"I'm just happy that Portage is accepting of our initiatives and also accepting of having those conversations," notes Pashe.