Sarnia-Lambton promotes inclusivity through Welcoming Week

LKDSB Director of Education John Howitt with a "Hate Has No Home Here" sign. (Photo courtesy of LKDSB via Twitter)

Sarnia-Lambton is observing its first-ever Welcoming Week, from September 13 until September 19.

The Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership (SL-LIP) Welcoming Week is being held through the #ImmigrationMatters campaign. This comes after Canada became a member of Welcoming International, an initiative to promote inclusivity worldwide, in 2020.

SL-LIP Social Researcher Maggie Elliott said Welcoming Week is an annual opportunity to bring residents together and build stronger communities.

Welcoming Week will begin with opening ceremonies hosted by the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre. Elliott said it will be a closed event due to COVID-19 restrictions but a video will be posted to the Welcoming Week Facebook page.

The Facebook page will also provide details and links to virtual events taking place throughout the week.

“The Sarnia Book Keeper is doing an online children’s story time on Friday morning at 10 a.m.,” said Elliott. “The Lambton County Library is doing a couple virtual events, one is a children’s story time — that is Monday evening, and then on Wednesday they’re doing a couple different activities. One is an ESL opportunity … and then they’re doing an entrepreneurs 101 activity.”

Although events this year are being held virtually, Elliot said there’s hope that next year’s events will be held in-person.

“We hope to expand it with more opportunities for people to really be connecting, to be sharing their stories,” she said.

Although Welcoming Week is separate from a previous initiative launched in Sarnia-Lambton earlier this year called #AllAreWelcomeHere, Elliott said it all correlates into one positive message.

“Just inviting people to come, no matter who you are, what your background is, everybody is welcome here,” she said.

Additional details about Welcoming Week can also be found the SL-LIP webpage.

Local schools will also be observing Welcoming Week.