June 16th, 2024

Dialogue central to lasting change on discrimination

By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on February 8, 2022.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Victor Wutor, the president of the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, speaks over the weekend at a presentation called "The Future Is Now" at the Galt Museum.

A look to the future, opening dialogue and bringing an end to discrimination and stereotyping was front and center Sunday afternoon at the Galt Museum.
Victor Wutor, president of the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, held an hour-long presentation to discuss the mission of the Afro-Canadian Association in Lethbridge to raise awareness and take action to end racial and social injustice.
The time is now for the discussions to begin, he said.
“The topic I decided to go with today was ‘The Future Is Now’,” said Wutor. “I believe we have to start discussions and we need to have dialogue. All the stakeholders have to be at the table to think about it and I believe we have to go to the schools and talk to the kids because that is a new generation coming up. I believe we need to start there with the schools and we need to host programs like this.”
Wutor said Sunday’s session was looking at what black history is all about.
“We want to share our experiences, stories, achievements and accomplishments of the black community, how much we’ve contributed to this wonderful country and some of the challenges we’ve had as a people. We want to open up a dialogue so we can talk about all those things and by learning from each other we get to create a better environment for everybody to live happily. That’s all we want in Lethbridge.”
In his presentation, Wutor touched on the racism encountered in the city.
“I also touched on discrimination and stereotyping as well as micro aggression,” he said. “I touched on the history of slavery in this country. Our story is not being told. I believe there is more to us as a people than just things that are stereotyped, that black people do drugs and those kinds of things. There is more to us than that.”
While he has presented his story, Wutor said it would be ideal if other groups presented their story as well.
“That’s what I’m looking for, where we have dialogue and discussions and sit around the table and talk open heartedly, honestly, freely and devoid of acrimony. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Sunday’s ‘The Future Is Now’ presentation made some inroads for that to happen.
“There were some teachers who wanted us to come to their schools and speak to the kids and want to speak to the staff. Hopefully, we’ll get somewhere with those discussions,” said Wutor. “Canada has come very far and we’re doing very well compared with other countries. But I strongly believe there is room for improvement. Some of the things people say, they don’t really mean it, but I’m not going to accept they don’t mean it. Ignorance is no excuse. Some of the things they do and say, they didn’t mean it, I wouldn’t take it lightly. I think we need to educate ourselves so that we don’t make these mistakes anymore.”

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