By Jensen, Randy on June 3, 2020.
Systemic racism not only exists in the United States, it is also present in Canada, says Lethbridge Protest Against Racial Discrimination co-organizer Jordan Ledyit.
“In light of everything going on in the States, some people are going, ‘Canada does not have any racism here,'” says Ledyit, referring the social media campaign #meanwhileincanada trending on Twitter which brags of Canada’s lack of racial strife in comparison to our U.S. neighbours. “‘We do not experience that sort of thing here.’ We do. There are so many groups of people who are under-represented in Canada, and are not treated equally to our white allies or white people. And it is very sad and unfortunate. There is a lack of education in Canada about these issues.”
Ledyit says Thursday’s peaceful protest in front of city hall at 3 p.m. will allow local people to take a stand in solidarity with those protesting the killing of George Floyd in the United States, and to draw awareness to the racism in our own backyard, particularly against local Black and Indigenous citizens.
“People, I find, don’t understand they are being racist when they say certain things, and people tend to think because the racism in Canada isn’t so in your face and out loud that it doesn’t happen,” she explains. “But it does, it exists, it is here. It hasn’t stopped, and it hasn’t gotten better. I feel as though we need to take a stand against that.”
She says Lethbridge is no stranger to this type of muted racism, and is sadly also familiar with more overt forms of prejudice and systemic racism.
“What we are hoping to do is incite change,” she says. “We are hoping to get our police force and our government officials to understand we (racialized people) are still being mistreated. We are still being forced to the ground. We are still being jailed and held accountable for things much more harshly than our white counterparts. I feel that is something that needs to be put across; this is about equality and about making sure our voices are heard. Making sure our missing and murdered Indigenous women are recognized, and not something that is going to be swept under the rug anymore.”
Ledyit stresses the protest will be peaceful, and people who come out will need to wear medical masks and maintain proper physical distancing due to the risks associated with COVID-19.
For more information visit the Protest Against Racial Discrimination Facebook page.
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