On March 25, Brampton Focus Community Media is launching Harmonize, a new community run program across Peel Region that aims to combat racism, hate and exclusion by enabling diverse community and culture groups to collaborate and share their contributions to Canadian society.
Don McLeod, the founder of Brampton Focus and co-organizer of Harmonize says that “too often community groups choose to stay in artificial silos rather than work together for the benefit of the broader community.” He adds that “this silo approach isn’t specific to ethnic groups, in includes most non-profit efforts, charitable causes and political campaigns as well as the approach that large corporations take when marketing their products and services.” McLeod recently received the results of a DNA test from Ancestry and was surprised by what his report included. He says that “we all have complex histories and racists should take the test before they go on social media to promote their hate.”
The program will launch with a Live format that was inspired by the popular TED presentations, and an online hub (harmonize.ca) where community groups will have access to training and resources to communicate their programs and events in video format. The organizing team was also inspired by Carabram and Carasauga, the two major cultural celebrations in the region. McLeod spent time last summer organizing online video coverage of the Carabram pavilions and performances and wanted the entire city to be able to experience the vibrancy of different cultures that the region has. With Harmonize.ca, he says that “we can now showcase these groups and many others all year round.”
Cheryl Costello, an activist in the LGBTQ community was excited when Brampton Focus approached her to help develop the Harmonize idea. She says that “diversity is one of those terms that has different meanings and connotations to people and what’s important is that we share our lived experiences and not be judged by it.” She shares the hope that Harmonize can break down barriers and engage groups in constructive conversations.
The event is designed for community leaders, with the intention that these leaders will go back to the board members and communities and encourage participation in the program. Attendees will be provided with special access to media and public relations training programs for their organizations and free membership in the program. The organizing group knows the the initiative needs to be funded for the long term, but for now they are willing to provide complimentary video coverage of events in Peel Region as they have been over the past two years in Brampton.
For tickets, visit https://harmonize.ca/event/harmonize-launch/