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EDITORIAL: Now is the time to take anti-racism action

"Do you want to fix that to make it a better community or do you just want to put a veil on things."

Tina Fontaine.

Colten Boushie.

Rodney Levi.

Chantel Moore.

These names reflect Canada’s shameful inaction to address the inequity faced by Indigenous people in our county. They are sad reminders that in our country not all lives are treated with equal value.

The Canadian government acknowledged in June 2019 with the release of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls that what is happening Indigenous communities is comparable to genocide.

There are believed to be between 2,500 and 4,000 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls across Canada, and the report states that it is not possible to conclude a final number.

The current Black Lives Matter movement is a rebellion against the injustices that many have faced because there skin is not white.

It can be challenging unpacking the prejudice and racism that permeates Canadian systems of justice and culture. But by working to educate ourselves and understand our prejudices we can embrace deep and meaningful change.

“That is an uncomfortable truth for many people,” said Stoney Nakoda knowledge keep Thomas Snow. “But, until we get to that truth and acknowledge that we cannot even begin to move forward in an honest and meaningful way.”

The history of Canada needs to be addressed and unpacked to break the toxic relationship that was established through colonialism.

Working together we can learn from our countries past mistakes and build a new relationship going forward.

“We’ve all been colonized to an extent and we’ve all been traumatized to an extent,” Snow said. 

This experience has created a deep-seated trauma that has broken individuals and our society.

The cracks are beginning to show and what has been silent ache has turned into a rallying cry to support Canada's Indigenous and people of colour.

It is an exciting time because we have the opportunity to embrace being anti-racist and become active in ensuring all Canadians feel safe, comfortable and equal in their communities.

If you are just waking up to the injustice faced by many people of colour and Indigenous people in Canada, do not feel bad, because now is the time to join the rebellion and demand change.

The Black Lives Matter rally held in Cochrane on Sunday (June 14) is the first step on a long journey towards equity and equality for all Canadians— Now the real work begins and it will take our entire country to ensure hateful stereotypes are challenged and real change becomes permanent.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves and understand that for some of us thinking about race and our place in society is a privilege because we choose to engage. Not all Canadians have this privilege because every day they are judged for the colour of their skin. 

Being anti-racist is hard and necessary work, but we should be excited that we are in a time in Canadian history where we have the opportunity to make a significant change that benefits our society as a whole.

This is not a political change it is an ethical necessity.

All lives cannot matter until all lives are valued equally— We cannot rest until this is true.

To quote Rural Albert Against Racism organizer Taylor McNallie, "Do you want to fix that to make it a better community or do you just want to put a veil on things."