While strides have been made, there is still lots of work left to do.
That was the message at the Leadership Summit on Inclusivity luncheon in Belleville Friday.
The panel included Karen Poste from the City of Belleville, Dr. Bill Smith from the United Church of Canada, Cathy Rushton from Loyalist College and Ken Dostaler from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board.
They spoke about their priorities, the challenges they’ve faced, and what their next steps are going to be.
Dr. Smith said one thing they must do is change attitudes. He asked those in attendance how we make “All Are Welcome” happen. He says the answer lies in respect and breaking down stereotypes.
Rushton agreed, and says they need to not get discouraged as their initiatives will take time.
Councillor Garnet Thompson spoke briefly and says inclusivity is important for the city and we need to make Belleville what we want it to be.
Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis says the city has come a long way. He told those at the Belleville Public Library that eight years ago when he spoke about immigration migration to city council he received hate mail. Ellis says they’ll continue to shape the community and make it better.
Dr. Aruna Alexander closed the summit by saying there needs to be interdependency between the big players involved and everyone needs to provide leadership in this issue.
Alexander says this will be an annual event and already sees next year’s event as a conference.