Safe Harbour

A young woman with a green Mohawk runs into your premises and says that some other ‘kids’ are after her. She is scared and says she thinks they might hurt her. You look outside and can see a ‘gang of kids’ peering in the window. You can see that customers/clients are looking concerned. What needs might this person have? How might you respond? 

This is one of the training scenarios we worked through during a 2-hour, Safe Harbour Respect for All, workshop I participated in last week. The workshop was offered at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society in Surrey, one of the Safe Harbour affiliate members.

It is my opinion that the quality of our lives is in direct proportion to our sense of safety in any given moment and that it’s important for each of us to be mindful of creating a safe environment wherever we find ourselves. This is why I accepted the invitation to participate in the workshop.

During the workshop I learned about the Safe Harbour goals and mission and was given the opportunity to engage in a series of exercises designed to help me understand the value of this national diversity initiative. The Safe Harbour Community Organizers invite local storefront businesses, agencies, public institutions and municipal leaders to participate in the program by attending the workshop and then accepting their invitation to ‘sign on’ to three key commitments.

The three commitments are:

1) Equitable Treatment for All: welcoming all clients and/or customers in a respectful manner. If a concern is expressed regarding a lack of respectful treatment, employers and staff take steps to address it.
2) An Immediate Safe Place: for someone experiencing discrimination in or near the worksite which may include a place to sit, a glass of water, a phone to use, and access to a list of resources.
3) Prepared Employees and Worksites: preparing all staff to implement these commitments. (materials are provided by the Safe Harbour Community Organizers to assist in achieving this commitment)

Since completing the workshop and having reviewed the participant’s workbook, I now have a greater understanding of some of the safety concerns of our diverse population and want to encourage others to participate in a Safe Harbour workshop.

You can learn more about Safe Harbour Respect for All at: www.safeharbour.ca and by visiting the blog at: http://safeharbourblog.wordpress.com and also by joining the facebook page  Download DIVERSEcity’s most recent Safe Harbour workshop schedule here.