In the wake of the high-profile deaths of black Americans including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, demonstrations have taken place across the United States and around the world. These deaths have brought conversations about race and racism to the forefront, and have led to renewed interest in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
According to Civiqs, a polling and data analytics firm that conducts online public opinion surveys, support of the BLM movement among Americans has increased steadily in the past few months – 52 per cent of registered voters say they support the movement.
Locally, shows of solidarity have also taken place. In early June, supporters of BLM marched in Calgary and held a rally in Airdrie. A silent protest is planned for Crossfield July 7. Candace Bergner, the organizer of the Crossfield demonstration, put it best when she said these demonstrations aren't "about pointing fingers and being angry," but rather listening and learning.
As Canadians, it can be tempting to look at instances of racism across the border and dismiss them as someone else's problem. This, unfortunately, is simply not the case.
In Airdrie, where the Rocky View Weekly is headquartered, a school was defaced with a racial slur in late May. Privately, our reporters have witnessed acts of racism in the form of derogatory jokes and the casual use of racial slurs. Racism is as much our problem as anybody else's.
It's important to note that racism is not only anti-black. People of Asian, Middle Eastern, Indigenous and Latinx descent also bear the brunt of bigotry.
The events of the past months should lead everyone to pause, reflect on their own internal biases, work to correct them and stand in solidarity with groups that have historically faced discrimination. Racism must be strongly denounced whenever it occurs. Everyone has a part to play in ensuring our communities – from Cochrane to Crossfield, from Bragg Creek to Beiseker, from Airdrie to Irricana – are inclusive and welcoming to all people.