June 14th, 2024

Reconciliation Lethbridge to engage local media in addressing racism


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on February 11, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee has distributed a letter addressing incidents of racism and prejudice in the city.
During a virtual availability on Thursday, Indigenous Relations Advisor with the City of Lethbridge, Perry Stein, said that during their last reconciliation committee meeting, the committee unanimously supported the action of drafting the letter.
“As a way of encouraging, I think more dialogue, between media partners and the work at the reconciliation committee table. To collectively think about the ways in which the community can address racism and discrimination,” said Stein.
The letter reads in part “We are concerned when editorialists are permitted to use a media platform to repeat hateful and racist stereotypes and when comment sections go unmoderated, thereby furthering the harm that is produced through the veil of anonymous posts.”
Strategist, communications and engagement for the City of Lethbridge, Megan Williams, said the letter is not about anything in particular but some commentary on how things are unfolding, whether it be in media reporting or in conversations on social media and online.
“We just wanted to take the time to have a more full conversation… perhaps more just a starting point to having a deeper understanding and conversation with our media partners about how all the narratives take place within our city,” said Williams.
Stein said the letter is looking for ways to support a more positive narrative in the community around Indigenous peoples, who in Canada have historically often been portrayed through biased or racist lenses.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have both called for greater support from media partners in being able to think about the ways in which they can be reconciliation allies in the communities that they serve,” said Stein.
Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Treena Tallow, said it is very important to think how Indigenous people are portrayed in the media and how that can impact Indigenous communities in traumatic and negative ways.
“I think Reconciliation Lethbridge is really providing us an opportunity to come together and have those dialogues and discussions about how media does portray Indigenous people and one of the areas that is really missing is that Indigenous voice,” said Tallow.
She said the media has a responsibility to consider the MMIGW, as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, of taking those calls to action and to be able to bring those to the community to promote a cohesive and more hopeful community.
Tallow said there are journalism graduates, many from the Blood Tribe, and opportunities to hire Indigenous people and engage them into those stories.
“So much wealth of information can come from the source, the way stories are portrayed in the media if we could only just add Indigenous voices to that,” said Tallow.

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