Honoured to Serve the Fort Richmond Community
A Note from Sarah
What a month for spring traditions.
The Jewish community celebrated Passover in March and April, Hindus commemorated Holi, the “festival of colours,” and Christians celebrated Easter on April 4. Eastern Christians will also mark Easter on May 2, while the Yazidi community celebrates on April 14.
Thank you for celebrating safely during this second spring holiday season of COVID-19.
Throughout April, Yazidi people around the world are also observing the Yazidi new year. For the safety of families, it will be commemorated at home, rather than with the traditional communal feast.
Hadji Hesso of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba notes the Yazidi people settled in Canada are proud Canadians, happy to be part of our city and province. They look forward to better times for celebration in the years to come, hopefully with new Yazidi arrivals.
Hesso has volunteered for years to bring persecuted Yazidis over to Canada and help them settle in Winnipeg and other cities across North America.
Fort Richmond and Winnipeg have a rich, recent history of welcoming Yazidis, many from Northern Iraq and Syria, into our community.
In 2014 Yazidis were targeted for genocide by the Islamic State terror group in their homeland. Two hundred Winnipeg Yazidi refugees — who had been rescued from persecution over 10 years before — raised awareness of what was going on. In response, Winnipeg’s Jewish community created a partnership of faith groups and volunteers.
Hundreds of Yazidis have been admitted to Canada as a result, many landing in Winnipeg. Many families settled in south Winnipeg, bringing their children to the Pembina Trails School Division. About three-quarters of Winnipeg’s Yazidi community now live in the south end of the city. Until recently, most support services for refugees were more centrally located.
In 2019, the Newcomer Community Hub was created in Fort Richmond’s Ryerson School to help new families and students adjust to life in Canada, especially after experiences of violence, trauma, and displacement. Although not currently active due to the pandemic, the Hub was created through the efforts of the Pembina Trails School Division, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, and 15 other organizations to support all newcomers, with particular focus on the Yazidis’ unique challenges as a persecuted group.
Now integrated into Fort Richmond, the Yazidi community reaches out wishing everyone a healthy, prosperous year and happy Easter.
What a beautiful, rich mosaic of traditions our community has to offer!
About Sarah Guillemard
Sarah is a community activist and long-time Fort Richmond resident.
A graduate of Fort Richmond Collegiate, Sarah has lived in Fort Richmond for over 30 years. She is proudly raising her family in the same vibrant, caring neighbourhood in which she grew up.
Sarah has been a tireless community advocate whose efforts have benefitted families in the community and throughout Winnipeg.
Sarah’s belief that parents should be active participants in decisions that affect their children’s education compelled her to take the lead in working with the Pembina Trails School Division to address timely issues. In recognition of her outstanding achievements, Sarah received the Parent Council Recognition Award from the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils in 2010.
Sarah also believes in welcoming those who are new to Canada. Living overseas with her husband and young family gave her an appreciation for the difficulty facing newcomers with a language barrier. This led Sarah to begin teaching English conversation classes for new Canadians through her church.
In addition to her work in the school system and with newcomers to Canada, Sarah was a long-time soccer coach and enjoyed working with her teams to bring out the best in each player both on and off the field.
Sarah was named Minister of Climate Change and Conservation following the 2019 provincial election.
With four generations of her family living in the area, Sarah is deeply committed to Fort Richmond. She is proud to be serving her second term as MLA for Fort Richmond, especially while navigating such a difficult situation as the global pandemic of COVID-19.