How disturbing to see that Kirn Dhillon’s campaign signs were defaced and sprayed with racist graffiti last week. I thought that Whitehorse was immune from such racist behaviour. It is time for all of us to speak out against racist actions such as this. Parents and teachers should use this incident as an opportunity to talk about respect and inclusion in our community.
It takes courage to put your name forward as a candidate in any election. We should be grateful that we live in a free, democratic and multicultural country that allows people, no matter their race, ethnicity or religion, to stand for office. All candidates should be treated with respect and judged on their own merit.
Forty-eight Canadian cities have joined the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination. A few years ago, several community groups and individuals appeared before Whitehorse city council proposing that they join the coalition. Unfortunately, city council chose not to take any action.
This recent incident points out that we have work that needs to be done to eliminate racism in our city. The first step is recognizing that it exists. The next step is for all of us to speak out against racism whenever or wherever we see it or hear it. I believe it is time for the mayor and city council to take a public stand against racism and to resurrect the idea of joining the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination. The coalition is a good resource for the city to consider ways in which it can take action to eliminate racism.
For more information on the coalition go to the website of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.
Lillian Nakamura Maguire