Will The Multicultural Society Dissolve? May 31st Could Be There Last AGM

At their AGM in May, the Revelstoke Multicultural Society (RMS) will be making a critical decision whether to continue on as a society or dissolve. For this small volunteer-based society, it’s time to make it or break it.

We all come from different walks of life. For some of us, a long standing proud Canadian Heritage is in the bloodline that reaches so far back a pinpoint as to when the original ancestor arrived cannot be determined. Others, like myself, have a unique history where one ancestor came from England and the other ventured across the great sea from Italy, and Canada was the meeting ground. 

This of course is one small example of the many ways Canada has come to become known as a Multicultural Nation. We pride ourselves on acceptance of others, of inviting new cultures and a way of thinking into the social fabric of our society. We are Canadian; we are multicultural. 

The Revelstoke Multicultural Society has been a part of our community 2010 and in that time they have been active in the community drawing awareness to the very notion in which Canada was founded on, bringing all peoples under one roof to share a commonality; passion and pride for where we came from. The RMS have continuously marched in the Canada Day parade inviting those that would like to carry the flag of their people, land or nation and celebrate the freedom that Canada provides. 

The stage-side dining area was packed with hungry people who scoffed some pretty amazing ethnic food. Keri Knapp photo

Revelstoke Multicultural Society Chair, Keri Knapp told the Revelstoke Current, “This event is important as it is a reminder of the many newcomers we have here in Revelstoke who have moved here some temporary and others permanent. The opportunity to walk with a flag from their home country evokes a sense of patriotism and a reminder of home and each individual’s journey to a new country or community. It is an important reminder that people of many cultures from around the world live in Revelstoke and call this community home.”

This is just one of many steps the RMS takes to bring a diverse community of different cultures to Revelstoke. Movies in the Mountains is a well-received program in which Hollywood takes a back seat to these rather unique foreign cinematic experiences or powerful documentaries that bring to light the darker corners of the world and problems that perhaps don’t come across our everyday path in Revelstoke. RMS have been in partnership with the Revelstoke Arts Council to bring these films to our community to help continue the education of what is happening around the world as well as bring a little cultural diversity to the silver screen. 

Multiculturalism was the theme for this year’s parade and — not surprisingly — the Multcultural Society was out in force to celebrate. David F. Rooney photo

“We screen monthly between October and April six contemporary international films from the Toronto International Film Festival. 12 films are selected to present to Revelstoke. From those 12 films, Revelstoke has a had chance to vote on their six favourite films. These flicks are selected to broaden Revelstoke’s worldview and engage audiences about cultures here and afar.”

We all love a good Hollywood action packed, over the top, multi-billion dollar film, but often the quest independent film from France, is exactly what is needed to remind ourselves that life exists beyond the walls of Revelstoke, as well as Canada. 

For the past seven years, the event that draws roughly 1000+ people a year to the Revelstoke Recreation Centre, is the brilliant and heartwarming, Carousel of Nations. This event has been one of the most successful and community anticipated events in history for the town. Alongside the Revy Stomp, Carousel of Nations is an excellent event to remind us of our own heritage as well as be introduced to other ways if life we may not be privy to. 

Carousel of Nations: Entertainment at a Carousel of Nations is always top notch. Photo: Keri

“The Carousel of Nations explores and celebrates the cultural diversity in Revestoke’s community by sharing food, displays, entertainment, educational workshops and children’s activities from various cultures. Each year, this event draws participants of all ages, from all cultural backgrounds.” 

This free event is an excellent way to spend a portion of your Saturday afternoon and grab some homemade food made with love and derived from that vendor’s heritage as well as some great entertainment for both adults and our youth. 

Until the Revelstoke Carousel of Nations event, there was no single community-wide event aimed at working towards embracing diversity and equality including all people of all ethnicities and cultures. Each year this event occurs, the RMS is able to take another step closer to achieving their goals and sharing their vision.

Like any Not-For-Profit/ Society, these groups only function on a basis of hard working volunteers. At times there may be room for honorariums depending on the job (and monies available) but for the most part it is all put together “For love of the game” as they say in baseball. 

The Revelstoke Multicultural Society has been struggling with the capacity to fill board roles for the 2018/19 year. A growing concern is that without the proper people in place to fill these roles that the society could dissolve leaving our community with one less group that brings a lot to it. What will happen to the Carousel of Nations if this group were to be no more? That is a good question; in fact, it is a question they are asking themselves right now. 

If you would like to see this group maintain its strong stay in Revelstoke and continue to bring unique programs and event to Revelstoke that is inviting and open to all walks of life than perhaps joining the board is something to consider. Like many groups, it takes volunteer hours and it can be time consuming, we all know this, especially those that are on more than three boards, but as they say- It takes a village. 

The Revelstoke Multicultural Society will be holding its Annual AGM Thursday May 31st 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Paramjits Kitchen and it could be the last. Consider taking the time to go and hear what is happening at a board level and learn whether or not you would be an excellent fit to keep this excellent society growing.