This morning I attended Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion’s Report to the Community, along with CEO Terry Cooke and our incoming chair, Dr. Gary Warner. We heard about some of the amazing things they have done over the last year to help Hamilton be a more inclusive community and reap the benefits of its diversity.
Many people understand that HCCI grew out of Strengthening Hamilton’s Community Initiative, a response to the firebombing of a local Hindu temple in the days following 9/11. What fewer people know is that although this was a catalyst, the idea for an organization like HCCI was seeded even earlier by Dr. Warner and the Hamilton Specator’s Howard Elliott.
Beyond the great work they do in helping Hamilton employers access the deeper talent pools, one important area of HCCI’s work is civic engagement, which includes giving newcomers the knowledge and the confidence to make a difference where they live. They provide a six-week intensive “civics” course to help new Hamiltonians understand how our systems work and how they can make a meaningful difference. Graduates from another program on “community mobilization” leave their training feeling prepared to volunteer their time and expertise on committees and boards throughout the city.
As HCCI says its about “emotional integration”. It helps newcomers cement their attachment to our city, and its near and dear to our hearts at the Foundation as we work to strengthen Hamilton’s quality of life as an inclusive and sustainable community.
The Report to the Community was a well-earned celebration of the last year’s accomplishments, while acknowledging there is still much to be done. Thanks HCCI, and best wishes for your continued success in making diversity the norm.