Shades of Change is a non-profit organization created in response to the recent soar in anti-Asian hate crimes. Xiuming Shi, a third-year Renaissance College student, and Sohan Kobiri, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student, founded the organization, which officially began operations on March 27, 2021.
“We felt the need to establish a voice to address the increasingly alarming racist and discriminatory acts pitched against all people-of-colour communities by sharing our experiences with a greater goal of advocating for a kinder, more respectful environment through raising awareness and providing educational resources,” explained the Shades of Change team.
Despite their recent inception, the organization already has a team of eight UNB students, including Khaleem Shaik and Nihla Hussain who inspired the creation of the organization.
The main issue for the group now is tackling the lack of awareness or interest in the community about the issues that minorities face. First, they are focusing on trying to get people to care about issues of racism and discrimination using different social media platforms. They are working on a storytelling campaign with recognizable student leaders at UNB in which individuals give their accounts of racism and discrimination.
“Further along the line, we plan to begin working extensively on resources to be implemented across primary education so that people learn from a younger age about the importance of treating people with kindness and standing up against racism and discrimination,” said the team. “We also plan to offer workshops for teachers to educate them on ways to decrease prejudice in and around the classroom.”
They believe it is pertinent to instill these values from the early ages in order to ensure a safer, more tolerant future. Although the creation of the organization was prompted by the anti-Asian crimes, they plan to advocate for all minorities.
“It was always our mission to fight against racism and discrimination happening against people of colour, and that was the initial idea was creating an initiative for that purpose. It was brewing for a while, but the anti-Asian crimes sparked the flame that made us take prompt actions to found the initiative,” the team explained.
Shades of Change said that they are not looking to compete against or differentiate themselves from other organizations with the same goal as them.
“Instead, we want to promote a sense of unity among people and eradicate the discrimination that has become a shocking part of the school and work cultures, and that can only be done by us working together,” they concluded.