The events of the past two years have laid bare many of the inequalities long existing in our communities. The uneven hardships of the pandemic, the rallying cries for racial and gender equity, and the tragic reminders of the past and present injustices towards Indigenous peoples in this country have all led to the first two years of the 2020s as a time of reckoning.
Exploring the topic of equity and inclusion is at the heart of the Victoria Foundation’s 2021 Victoria Vital Signs program because the capital region is no exception from these hard truths. We know, through both data and lived experiences, discrimination exists in our community, and that for many people in our community the experience of living, working, and playing in Greater Victoria is different than it is for others.
“With everything we’ve seen in our community, and around the world, especially over the past two years, we recognize that issues of equity and inclusion remain deeply important to investigate, reflect on, and find solutions to,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “Every community has room for growth when it comes to these issues, and Greater Victoria is no exception. Through our 2021 Vital Signs program we resolved to bring equity and inclusion to the forefront to inspire important conversations and help our community become a kinder place for all.”
Vital Signs explores the challenges of equity and inclusion through data, statistics, the results of a resident survey, and the lived experiences of people in our community, including through a series of feature articles on equity and inclusion written by four local subject matter experts:
- Charla Huber, executive director of NEED2: The value and power of inclusive and equitable storytelling
- Dr. Fred Chou, University of Victoria associate professor, and Macayla Yan, masters graduate and community organizer: An invitation to move beyond equity and inclusion
- Brishti Basu, reporter with Capital Daily: Never lose your accent
These authors were invited to write on the subject from whatever angle they chose, and the results are a series of articles that are challenging, inspiring, through-provoking, and personal.
“Some of what they shared has the potential to cause discomfort,” said Richardson. “These are not easy topics to discuss. And although their views may not always reflect those of the Foundation or its board or staff, we knew it was important to step aside and let those with lived experience and expertise take centre stage.”
This is just one of the many fascinating areas explored in the 2021 Vital Signs program via a combination of data and the results of a survey completed by over 3,700 residents in our region. Along with questions on equity and inclusion, all respondents were invited to weigh in on how our region is faring in 12 key issue areas and provide information on how they are managing the COVID-19 pandemic in its second year, to bring to light some of the greatest triumphs and challenges of our region. The overall quality of life, as graded by survey respondents, has remained the same from 2020, sitting at a B, and out of the 12 key issue areas the report focuses on, seven have seen a change in grade.
Also, after 16 years of publishing Vital Signs reports, the Victoria Foundation is this year is introducing a new website, Vital Victoria, that is a wealth of information about our community and includes over 60 measurable indicators on our quality of life. Vital Victoria also includes news and reports related to the indicators and issue areas, measurements tracking the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the feature series of articles on equity and inclusion.
Visit Vital Victoria today at victoriafoundation.bc.ca/vital-victoria.
The magazine-style Vital Signs final report is available in hard copy at various locations throughout the community, as well as online at victoriafoundation.ca.