The J.E.D.I. Journey with Alka: March 2024

Welcome to the March edition, the last blog in this series…

In this last blog for the JEDI Initiative, I must begin with a note of gratitude for the space this monthly column created, for me to step back, reflect, and express my views-mostly on the work we were doing through CMCCF. Oftentimes though, this blog-space also compelled me to ruminate on the values of social justice, equity and inclusion (that undergird our work) in the context of events unfolding in our everyday lives, including on the world stage.

A special opportunity, a unique space

This blog then became a tiny window where I sat and pondered on fundamental moral questions, like, how do we actually live the values that we espouse, in other words, can we always ensure that we walk the talk, and through our actions create the fair and inclusive world we say we believe in.

Questions like the following also became equally important, for instance, how easy or complex is it to take a stand, stick your neck out and challenge the popular opinion in the room, speak truth to power; or what does it mean to be a bystander when a racist event is taking place under your watch; or how to navigate difficult conversations in a world that’s becoming increasingly complex and polarised every day, especially if you believe that all voices have a right to be at the table.

Thank you CMCCF, for providing me this forum and this blog-space where I could interact with our readers, our partners and our allies. I have indeed appreciated the opportunities to express myself, and you, dear readers, have helped me in my journey towards becoming more courageous, and in my voice becoming stronger.

A backward glance, and a little note of thanks

More importantly, and from a collective standpoint-after two years of our JEDI Initiative, as Team CMCCF, we feel fortunate that we can look back with pride (and humility) at the road we have travelled together, as a Coalition aiming for `Collective Impact.’

We express our gratitude to our funders-the Government of Canada, and the Winnipeg Foundation-who made it possible for us to achieve our goals of working closely with cultural communities in Winnipeg and in other parts of Manitoba. 

The JEDI Initiative has helped us enhance opportunities for engagement, outreach, awareness, and relationship-building with members of several cultural and ethnic communities.

We created and delivered capacity-building and leadership training programs for community members, especially for youth and women cohorts; and through panel discussions and learning events, we highlighted their powerful experiences, using storytelling techniques-like, interviews and podcasts; blogs and visual storytelling; and sharing community stories on our website, on our social media platforms, and on the CMCCF YouTube channel.

Further, through fostering meaningful relationships with our partnering community agencies- like African Communities of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI), Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba, MANSO, and Manitoba Islamic Association- that already have the mandate to support members of cultural communities, I believe we further strengthened the collective impact we could create.

The path ahead, and new goals to be pursued

And now, with anticipation, determination, and new plans, we look ahead with the objective of consolidating our outcomes and our achievements, by adding new elements and focus areas to further develop a new iteration of the program in the near future.

For example, so far, we have focused on highlighting inequalities and pointing out instances of racism and other forms of discriminations and systemic challenges communities face in their interactions with service providers and policy makers.

The lens and approach we will apply going forward will be to explore ways in which building community safety can be made a priority; so that focusing on healthy connections, and fostering intercultural dialogue and coexistence can lead to overall conditions where peace and community well-being can be realised.

An important aspect of pursuing such a vision is to ensure that relationships with mainstream and indigenous communities are strengthened, leading to the building of a harmonious society where everyone feels safety, inclusion, and a sense of belonging.

An important way to achieve the above goals is through inclusion of the voices of community members in public policy conversations. This will ensure that experiences and perspectives, needs and aspirations of cultural communities are represented on decision-making tables, and if this can happen, it will hopefully lead to more culturally targeted and equitable policies where cultural competency and safety can be centred.

A medley of peacebuilding approaches for building relationships

Meanwhile, another important aspect of CMCCF work going forward is to ground these peacebuilding conversations in traditional approaches and practices different communities find relevant and beneficial as ways to address violence in their own family and community settings.

The processes of exploring, brainstorming, and bringing forth assets and wisdoms; values, precepts and principles; as well as peacebuilding models from ethnic communities that they value, and find culturally appropriate, as ways to engage the established western systems would be a pathway to create more diverse and inclusive frameworks. This would also lead to the building of inter-community relationships that are founded on trust, and are equal and reciprocal.  

An open invitation…

I request all friends and allies of CMCCF to support us by helping us disseminate information about the community-centred work we do. Most importantly, join our engagement sessions so you too can add your voice to the ongoing conversations by contributing your experiences and your stories.

If you have aspirations and ideas about how you imagine the future of your community in Canada, join our leadership training programs so you too can learn skills that can help you contribute to strengthening and leading your own cultural community to achieve their vision.

Meanwhile, till we meet again, stay safe, take care of yourselves and of each other…

The views expressed in this blog post are mine, and I take full responsibility for them. We are always wanting to hear from you – please share your thoughts and feedback by completing our contact form here or by emailing

To learn more about our Intercultural and Intergenerational Diversity and Inclusion Engagement Project, go to our J.E.D.I. Initiative landing page here.

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