Brad Gallamore along with attendees held a round table meeting in the field beside the Pollinator Gardens in Vermilion on June 25.
Photo Lorna Hamilton
We are a collective of residents of Vermilion and the surrounding region who wish to bring light to the racial prejudice that exists here and around the world. We support peaceful and pragmatic reform of all institutions that discriminate based on race, ethnicity and culture. We acknowledge that racism is systemic, but we also acknowledge that many are unaware that their beliefs are founded on a long history of cultural bias and dominance. We are proud of Canada’s multicultural identity and we promote equality and fairness for all races, ethnicities and cultures. However, it is the black, indigenous and other people of colour (‘BIPOC’) who have suffered most from the effects of racism, and we believe that ALL lives cannot matter unless black lives and indigenous lives matter too. Our passion for this cause was ignited by the exposure of police brutality against black and indigenous peoples. We acknowledge that not all police are bad or racist, but we know racism, racist beliefs, and racial practices exist and we will encourage pragmatic reform to our justice system. We are a peaceful collective united under one cause – to promote equality. We believe in freedom of expression, but we do not support hate. We will challenge injustice when we see it. We have our differences of opinion and support differences in approach, but we are united in our belief that racism exists in Vermilion and surrounding communities and we will promote equality wherever and whenever we can. We will work collaboratively with others in the community to educate and bring focus to the injustice and inequality that leads to socio-economic distortions. We are fiercely compassionate and empathetic for those who are trying to survive the effects of racism that have been imbedded in our culture through centuries of discrimination and attempts at assimilation. We support reconciliation. We want to help those who are in need now – by improving access to social services and increasing much needed funding to agencies, charities and centers that are a lifeline to the racially disadvantaged. We know that racism thrives in quiet corners, so at times we will not be quiet. We will be respectful and peaceful but we will not stay silent – exposing racism to the light is our goal. Educating about systemic racism and its history is a major objective. Ignorance is the enemy and education is our friend. We are a new ‘force’ in the community and we will have growing pains, so please be patient as we learn from our mistakes and move forward in a positive, community building way. We love Vermilion and we wish to build on its strengths, not tear them down.