Diversity Thunder Bay Celebrates International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
By Pat Forrest
Organizers of Diversity Thunder Bay’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Celebration Breakfast face the challenge each year of living up to the calibre of the previous year’s event. With such speakers as award-winning activist Toni Morgan in 2018, Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Dr. Marie Wilson in 2017, and renowned author and Companion of the Order of Canada Stephen Lewis in 2016, among many others, they have set the bar high.
They are confident, however, that this year’s speaker will attract yet another sell-out crowd. Tanya Talaga, acclaimed author of Seven Fallen Feathers, which investigates the seven deaths of Indigenous students attending Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School between 2000 and 2011, will be this year’s keynote presenter at the breakfast, scheduled for March 21 at the Victoria Inn. Seven Fallen Feathers, a national bestseller, was the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and the First Nation Communities Read Award: Young Adult/Adult. It was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and was named CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book.
Talaga was the 2017–2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy, the 2018 CBC Massey Lecturer, and is author of the national bestseller All Our Relations: Finding The Path Forward. For more than 20 years, she has been a journalist at the Toronto Star and is now a columnist at the newspaper. She has been nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism.
Talaga says that now it is time to come together to find a new path towards understanding, so that all who call Thunder Bay home feel as though they belong. “We are all responsible for our past, and therefore, we can all have a hand in prevention, and a new way forward,” she says. Her keynote will touch on the ways the community did not look after its children, and thereby allowed them to be lost, as well as the positive changes that have already taken place in Thunder Bay to better support children, and what more could be done by the community, individually and as a whole, to make it a safer and more welcoming community.
“I have deep family ties to Thunder Bay and the traditional territories of Fort William First Nation. I care for the city and all of its people and I have great faith in the city’s future,” she says.
March 21, 7:30–9 am