Updated: Jun 5
These are challenging times. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the differences between people – generationally, racially, ethnically, politically, and socioeconomically.
Over the past eight weeks, people around the globe have been dealing with profound and potentially permanent loss or change: our daily routines, living arrangements, income, careers, occupations, family dynamics, and freedoms. Our ‘familiar ‘has been significantly transformed. Many of us have also lost loved ones. The trauma of these changes and losses should not be underestimated. Mental health, relationships, and quality of life have all deteriorated as a result of the pandemic and the shift to this “new normal.”
How do we comprehend everything that is happening now – the changes that we have to deal with, as well as the social unrest that is unfolding? The protesters who want cities to be re-opened, and to regain the pre-pandemic normalcy. The recent racist incidents that target people in BC who appear to be of Asian descent. And watching our neighbours to the south deal with painful police brutality, inflaming already short tempers that have had enough of the systemic racism and bigotry towards African Americans, exacerbated by the frustration of living with the chaos of the pandemic. Our world has been turned upside-down.
Differences among us divide us. But racism, discrimination, and intolerance have no place in a society where we take pride as Canadians for being welcoming, tolerant, curious, and respectful of others. Our cultural fabric is supposed to be inclusive of those who are visibly different, who come from far away, who speak with an accent, or who hold different values and beliefs. Now more than ever, we must emphasize the message that it is our differences that make us stronger, as a community and as a society.
This has to STOP now! We are against racism. #BlackLivesMatter
As members of SIETAR BC, we have made a conscious choice to be part of an organization that promotes intercultural understanding, while also seeking to combat racism and prejudice. Our vision is that by helping people learn deeply about themselves and about one another, that we lay the groundwork for combating racist attitudes, behaviours, and sentiments. The work that we do now is more important than ever before.