A Kelowna community group is urging Okanagan residents to do their part in ending racism and discrimination.
Today (March 21) serves as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. For this to happen, local not-for-profit Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) believes the public needs to be aware, get informed, and activate change.
“Racism is very real and on the rise in Canada. For us to make a change, we first need to recognize and acknowledge that it exists,” stated the group in a statement on March 19.
In the past year, several incidents thought to be racially-motivated have occurred in the Okanagan and across the province.
Members of the Penticton Chinese community spoke out in February 2020 after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions.
In July 2020, a Summerland family were the victims of an attack that resulted in their home’s windows smashed and racist graffiti left on the side.
Kelowna Mounties found and removed several anti-Semitic posters along Abbott Street and Kelowna General Hospital on Friday (March 19). Mayor Colin Basran said he was “saddened and disturbed that these kinds of views still exist here and elsewhere.”
Vancouver police announced in February 2021 that anti-Asian hate crimes rose from a dozen in 2019 to 142 incidents in 2020 — a 717 per cent increase.
Just last week, B.C. Premier John Horgan decried anti-Asian attacks in British Columbia after a Tuesday night shooting spree in Atlanta, GA, killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.
KCR hopes to use March 21 to raise awareness of issues that affect marginalized groups through a social media campaign that amplifies Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour’s voices. It also shares anti-racism messages, creates community awareness, and opens conversations involving the impacts of racism and systemic marginalization.
In collaboration with the United Against Discrimination Coalition, the campaign aims to actively support marginalized groups and connect people with the proper resources. Visit KCR’s social media pages, @kcrcommunity, to learn more.
Those in the Central Okanagan who have experienced acts of discrimination are encouraged to report the incident online, at KCR.ca. The group ensured that reporting through the portal is safe and can be done anonymously.
“Whether you were the target, or the witness, of the incident, sharing what happened will make a difference,” stated KCR.
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