Thursday November 10, 2011
Lenny Carpenter — Wawatay News
Thunderstone Pictures Inc. and CBC Radio’s Common Ground Café program were recently commended by the city of Thunder Bay for their efforts in helping to make the city a safer place to live.
They were the recipients of the inaugural Community Safety & Crime Prevention Awards presented by the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council on Nov. 4.
Thunderstone Pictures was given the business award for its productions that document social justice issues in northwestern Ontario. Co-owned by Michelle Derosier of Eagle Lake First Nation and Dave Clement, the production company has “helped eliminate barriers between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by openly portraying racism, suicide, mental illness and poverty.”
Their award-winning first film, Seeking Bimaadiziwiin, is about Aboriginal youth dealing with depression, suicide and racism. It is still being used as a teaching tool by hospitals, healing centres, police forces and education institutions across North America. In 2009, Derosier and Clement were instrumental in the creation of the Biindigate Film Festival, which increases awareness and understanding of the Aboriginal community. Their most recent film, The Life You Want, examines the OxyContin addiction of a young Fort Hope mother and the barriers people from remote communities face in getting treatment.
The CBC Radio program Common Ground Café was given the media award for its focus on finding “common ground when it comes to race relations in Thunder Bay.” Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants prepared and shared a meal together while discussing their concerns about community safety. The discussions demonstrated the different perceptions that people have about crime and solutions to crime, and showed that perspectives are often based on race. The discussions were aired locally and nationally, and the conversation has continued on a Facebook page under the same name. The CBC partnered with the Learning Café for a Conversation Café where the public was able to join the discussion. Reaction from the community has been so positive that CBC continues to get requests to moderate discussions
Seven other individuals and groups also received an award.
“The awards are a way to promote the attitude and belief that crime prevention is each citizen’s responsibility and to celebrate our success stories,” said Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs. “I want to congratulate each of the recipients on a job well done and I hope others will follow their example to make our city a safer place to live.” The awards are being held in conjunction with Ontario’s Crime Prevention Week.
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