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Challenging hate and racism: a conversation at UBC’s Robson Square

Leaders from Black, Jewish, Indigenous communities come together November 3

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A crowd of people facing away from the camera. Some in the crowd are holding signs above their heads that say: “I can’t breath #BLM”, “Canada is not iImmune to racism”, and “Justice for all: end violent, subtle and systemic racism now!"

News release details

Racism and hate are alive in Canada today. If we want to challenge them in our communities and online, it will take a concerted effort from all Canadians.

That is the message that will be shared by panelists at an event this Thursday at the University of British Columbia’s Robson Square in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. June Francis, Daniel Panneton and Annecia Thomas will join moderator Niigaan Sinclair to share the realities and impacts of systemic racism and hate in Canada. Panelists will speak about their efforts to challenge these realities and take action to uphold human rights for all. They will also speak about how we can all become more aware of our own biases and prejudices.

This free event is the fourth annual Simces & Rabkin Family Dialogue on Human Rights. It is being organized by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), Zena Simces and Dr. Simon Rabkin, and Equitas. The event will include an African drum performance by renowned musician Albert St. Albert Smith.

WHAT: In‐person event, “From talk to action: challenging hate and racism in Canada today”. Free tickets required, available here.

WHEN: Thursday, November 3. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. PDT. Panel discussion 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Reception to follow.

WHERE: C300 Theatre, UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, British Columbia.

NOTE: Panelists are available for advance interviews. Media who wish to attend must RSVP to the media contact information below.


About the panelists and moderator

Portrait de June Frances, Ph. D.

Dr. June Francis (she/her) is the Special Advisor to the President of Simon Fraser University on Anti‐Racism, the Director of the Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement, co‐founder of the Black Caucus at SFU and an Associate Professor in the Beedie School of Business. She has been recognized by the Province of British Columbia and the National Congress of Black Women as a Trailblazer and was recently named to Vancouver Magazine’s 2022 Power 50 list.

Headshot of Daniel Panneton

Daniel Panneton (he/him) is the Director of Allyship and Community Engagement at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. He is on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Ward Museum. Previously, he managed the Online Hate Research and Education Project and Hatepedia at the Toronto Holocaust Museum. He was the recipient of the 2018 Ontario Historical Society’s Russell K. Cooper Programming Award and his work has appeared in several Canadian and American publications including The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail and The Walrus.

Headshot of Annecia Thomas

Annecia Thomas (she/her) is a leader in her community on social justice, anti‐racism, youth advocacy and human rights. She is an active member of the B.C. Minister of Education’s Youth Dialogue Series, where she provided guidance on the Ministry’s K‑12 Anti‐Racism Action plan. Annecia hosts the podcast Motion of Colour, where she creates space for a diversity of IBPOC voices and experiences to be heard.

Headshot of Niigaan Sinclair

Dr. Niigaan James Sinclair (he/him) is Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) and a professor at the University of Manitoba, where he holds the Faculty of Arts Professorship in Indigenous Knowledge and Aesthetics and is currently Head of the Department of Indigenous Studies. Niigaan is also an award‐winning writer, editor and activist who was recently named to the “Power List” by Maclean’s magazine as one of the most influential individuals in Canada.


About the event partners

The CMHR is proud to partner with Zena Simces and Dr. Simon Rabkin, as well as Equitas, for the fourth annual Simces & Rabkin Family Dialogue on Human Rights. 

Zena Simces has dedicated many years to addressing issues of hatred and prejudice as a leader with Canadian Jewish Congress in British Columbia. Her professional career as a consultant in the health, social policy and education has been dedicated to furthering and defending human rights and dignity.  

Dr. Simon Rabkin devoted some of his early career to providing health care to underserviced areas in Northern Canada and in Kenya. His experiences there and subsequently caring for disadvantaged individuals fostered his commitment to human rights. In various committees, in the private and public sectors, he has advanced the cause of human rights as well as issues of equity and diversity.

Equitas advances equality, social justice, and respect for human dignity through transformative human rights education programs in Canada and around the world. Equitas’ programming empowers people to challenge inequality and discrimination and take action to defend human rights. 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights brings people together. It is a place to explore human rights and inspire action. It offers a physical and virtual space for education, discussion and community, where people gather to share stories, learn and reflect. Located in the heart of Canada where major rivers and historic cultures come together in Winnipeg, the Museum is a place of hope and optimism that encourages people to connect with something larger than themselves and acknowledge their personal stake in building a better world.

Media contacts

Rorie McLeod (he/him)