For generations, people from around the world have made their homes in Kitchener. Our vibrant community continues to grow more diverse: In 2023, nearly one-third of Kitchener’s 270,000 residents are racialized. 

That means we have an abundance of opportunities to learn, share and connect with residents who add to the diversity, vibrancy and cultural knowledge within our city. 

On March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), we acknowledge the importance of identifying, disrupting and dismantling racism – both within our community and our organization. This is necessary to build an inclusive and equitable City that welcomes, values, and creates welcoming space for all races, cultures, and creeds. 

In recent years, the City has been more engaged in this work through collaborations with community partners including a focus on months of significance including Black Heritage month, Islamic Heritage month and others. 

In 2022, Kitchener also launched the Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Equity (RISE) Fund and awarded more than $93,000 in grants to Black, Indigenous and other racialized community-led programs, projects and events. This year, Council increased the RISE fund to $150,000 per year in 2023/2024 due to high community interest. 

Throughout 2023, the United Nations is also highlighting the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. March 21st serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and all orders of government to work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, injustice, systemic racism and hate.   

Today, and every day, please join our Kitchener community as we stand against racial discrimination. Join us today and share your own messages on social media using the hashtag #FightRacism. 


Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, on behalf of Kitchener Council