13 Fires Racial Inclusion Series


Dear Winnipeg

Many citizens, groups & organizations have been working diligently over the last year to create a more racially inclusive Winnipeg. Last Tuesday I emceed an event with the Winnipeg School Division at St John’s High School called “Everybody Has A Right” and it featured presentations from all schools in the division about the inclusion work they have been doing in their schools since we were declared Canada’s most racist city and our mayor issued the ONE Winnipeg challenge. This event also featured a guest appearance by Mayor Brian Bowman himself who organized the Mayor’s National Summit on Racial Inclusion at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in September of last year. AYO along with many other concerned citizens and organizations organized an additional opportunity for citizens to attend an event at the same time called Winnipeg’s Local Inclusion Summit. The grassroots event, dubbed Our Summit, attracted a couple hundred citizens of Winnipeg and through open space activities yielded 13 topics, referred to as 13 Fires, for the organizers and citizens to address on a going forward basis. 13 Fires became the name of the group of organizers who continued working after the local inclusion summit to produce the first of the 13 Fires Winnipeg Conversation Series on Racial Inclusion this past December at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House. It was a notable event because of the partnership and support from the City of Winnipeg’s Citizen Equity Committee

What is 13 Fires Winnipeg?

13 Fires Winnipeg is a group of concerned community members who want to address racism in our city. In traditional Indigenous ceremonies, there’s a very important role of helper, and the helpers are often fire-keepers. We see ourselves, the organizers of 13 Fires, as fire-keepers, and the citizens of Winnipeg themselves are the Fires. The number 13 refers to the 13 racism-focused topics that community members brought forth at Our Summit in September, 2015 and the 13 Fires Winnipeg launch in December, 2015. This number is also spiritually significant for Indigenous communities on Turtle Island, referencing the 13 moons on the turtle’s back. 13 Fires Winnipeg was formed after Our Summit: Local Racial Inclusion Summit, which took place on September 17, 2015. The major recommendation coming out of that event was to continue conversations on race and increase awareness and collaboration of the good work that is already happening. The event organizers decided to move forward with this recommendation, and we have committed ourselves to bringing community together each month in 2016.”

What Happened & What’s Next

The 1st Fire happened in December 2015. We consolidated the original 13 Fires into 7 topics, and opened up the remaining topics for citizens of Winnipeg to determine at the December event. At the end of our first fire, we created our topics for the months of 2016. We also created a survey that you should fill out if you attended our event in December by CLICKING THIS LINK[http://goo.gl/forms/tldqJQ0mjn]. Find below the remaining fires in the 13 Fires Winnipeg Racial Inclusion Conversation Series:

January – POVERTY

February – HEALTH



May – RELATIONS: Newcomer and Indigenous Relations with non-Indigenous Canadians

June – MMIP: Missing & Murdered Indigenous Peoples

July – WATER & Environment

August – FOOD

September – EDUCATION

October – MEDIA

November – HOUSING


Our next Fire is this Saturday, January 23rd, at the Broadway Disciples United Church at 3:30pm on the topic of POVERTY. All community members are invited there will be child minding and food! Please help us spread the word. Take a look at the official poster , and don’t forget to give us a LIKE on Facebook and a Follow on Twitter “13FiresWPG”!




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