Inclusivity conference helping build community: organizer

Inclusivity conference helping build community organizer

Creating an inclusive community is about more than ticking boxes on a card, says an official with Community Legal Assistance Sarnia.

Victoria Miceli, the co-ordinator of the agency’s Sexual Harassment in the Workplace project, is one of the organizers behind the second Sarnia-Lambton Community Conference later this month.

Dubbed Beyond the Boxes, the free-to-attend conference is about hearing “from businesses, organizations and agencies that are, or are aspiring, to do more to make their place inclusive for customers and clients,” Miceli said.

Panel discussions throughout the day of the 8 am to 5 pm conference at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s Maawn Doosh Gumig Community Center include mental health and addictions, welcoming newcomers and inclusive practices in the workplace.

In its inaugural, virtual-only foray in 2021the conference drew 30-some people over three days on Zoom, Miceli estimated, with roughly 10 to 20 tuning in for each panel.

“We’re hoping, and so far have already, a higher attendance rate this year,” she said.

While in-person spots are capped at 50, “there is no cap on people joining by Zoom though,” Miceli added.

Registration details for the Nov. 30 conference are available at

The conference, jointly held by Community Legal Assistance Sarnia and the John Howard Society, also features an opening speech from Diversty Ed’s Crystal Fach.

“They do so much work with helping organizations, agencies, workplaces (make) their space more inclusive, so we’re very excited to hear from Crystal’s learnings,” Miceli said.

Funding for the conference in part comes from Canada’s Justice Department via the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace project, she added.

Networking was one of the strongest outcomes last year, she said. Many panellists and attendees, Miceli noted, made plans to continue their conversations after the conference.

“I really felt like it was an important community building event … and we’re hoping to carry that over to this year as well.”

There’s lots of good work on inclusivity happening in Sarnia, she said.

“We want to showcase it and we want to build capacity for people to work together beyond the conference and into the future.”

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