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HMC TO PROMOTE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION AS PART OF SECOND ANNUAL HARAMBECOUVER CARNIVAL

July 12, 2018

Featured Image Credits: Aidan Tong

What started as Canada’s first Multicultural Parade has evolved into Vancouver’s First Multicultural Carnival focusing on a youth driven culture working to close the gap between marginalized communities and the population at large. With an integrated entertainment component that’s working towards making sure there’s something for everyone, this year will spread programming across four days of celebration. With HMC being coFounded and born out of a strong partnership between Skynation and Great Lakes Network, the event has developed an economic focus on cultivating an exchange of knowledge and resources through specially cultivated programs.

With 2018 being the second year of HMC, Day One will focus on the activation of a NetworkHub and launch night and Day Two is slated as the Diversity Conference which will present a great deal of speakers and special invitees that will speak on the theme of Mental Health and Addiction within Marginalized communities and the DTES. According to Kombii Nanjalah, founder of Great Lakes Network and the inspiration behind Harambecouver, “part of what we want to prioritize on Day Two is an exchange of ideas on what’s working and what’s not”. “2018 has been an insane year within pop culture and a number of marginalized communities have stood up to say enough is enough, but with a lack of representation at the table, Day Two is meant to bring the conversation to us’ says Kayode Fatoba on the intent of the conference.

With events tentatively scheduled for Simon Fraser University, with a number of integrated workshops, this component will attempt to engage attendees on building an exchange of healing practices aimed at the tearing down and rebuilding of the bridges we need to move into the first year after Canada’s 150+. Although this might be the production’s second year, HMC is already gaining requests from international organizations who are planning their trips into the city for the Carnival. Since the event is taking place in Thornton Park at Main Street – Science World, attendees will have an opportunity of checking out a wide range of Vancouver attractions and waterfront rides, while enjoying a CultureFest to celebrate Canada’s distinct Multicultural communities.

Harambe as the root word of the Carnival means Unity in Swahili and with it’s connection to people who actually speak Swahili, the community at large can expect to find authentic communities at CultureFest. While the organizers do want to focus on producing a high quality production that attracts a mainstream audience, HMC wants to stay at its core an urban brand that’s able to appeal to the youth. With CultureFest going from 12pm to 10:30pm, attendees will be able to catch a mix of performances both contemporary and traditional, food trucks and vendors, arts and crafts, a fashion show and various other installations. While Skynation is still looking into the possibility of a Pancake Breakfast for the DTES community as part of the Carnival Weekend, if successful, attendees and the community at large will get a free breakfast program aimed at breaking barriers and bringing the festival community, tourists and locals together for breakfast.

With Harambecouver Parade being the signature of HMC, one area of improvement is that of road closure. While Year One had seen the start of the activation moved to the sidewalk as the two month self-organized programming lacked a great deal of support from the Government, the success of the first year has started a national conversation on the future of the country as a Multicultural Nation. Canada’s University Fashion Week even featured Steven Lytton who had spoken on behalf of Harambecouver at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia on promoting and celebrating its indigenous and rich history.

Less segregation, and more social celebrations that promote interrelationships not only expose the community to people of color but also allow various members of the community to have fun and celebrate their diversity together. According to the Parade organizers, the event is meant to be a celebration of culture, and a celebration of being Canadian. With a mix of day, evening, and night programming, this year’s presentation will focus on delivering a better experience than Year One while creating small and incremental accomplishments to advance the community positively. For more information about HMC18 please visit harambecouver.ca

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