Pledge: Acknowledge Cultural Holidays As Civic To Make Winnipeg More Inclusive

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The population of Winnipeg is much more diverse than one single culture or religion, yet statutory holidays only reflect the culture and religion of one dominant group. In 1971, Canada adopted a policy of multiculturalism; however, as a society, we have yet to achieve equal representation amongst all cultures.

In maintaining this status quo, we unintentionally exclude Winnipeggers who wish to celebrate and observe holidays in addition to those such as Christmas and Easter. By neglecting to recognize other celebrations, we also deny society a real understanding and experience of the diversity that makes Winnipeg unique.

Research demonstrates that cities thrive when we allow people from different backgrounds to be included, and when we better understand the beliefs and worldviews of people who are different from us. These benefits range from personal, such as improved self-esteem and productivity, to city-wide benefits such as healthy communication between neighbours and improvements to the overall economy.

To move Winnipeg towards inclusive multiculturalism, we ask you to support an exploration of the following ideas:

-          Civic acknowledgment of holidays that capture the cultures of the entire population of Winnipeg, including but not limited to; Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid ul Adha, Eid ul Fitr, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Rosh Hashanah, Vaisakhi, Yom Kippur

-          Visible civic decorations, such as putting city-wide lights up to indicate celebrations beyond the Christmas season to ensure representation, education and awareness

-          An evaluation of the societal relevance of current civic holidays and days off for educational institutions with consideration to make changes and updates as deemed appropriate to accurately represent the current civic population

We believe that civic acknowledgement of holidays - observed as secular or religious - that genuinely reflect the diversity of Winnipeg’s population is essential for the inclusion of everyone. This not only reduces ignorance and hate, but also promotes positive psychological wellbeing for all. We are requesting your support to ensure that our city works to Celebrate Everything by recognizing holidays that are reflective of the diversity of its population.

Given this, we the undersigned have pledged to support these actions and acknowledgments from the office of Mayor Bowman.