I’ve attended a few rallies since I moved to Bonnyville, but I don’t think any have had such an impact on me as the one I attended last week.
I wouldn’t even call it a protest. I’d rather use the words of organizer Lloyd Cardinal, who called it a “peaceful demonstration of love, solidarity, and peace” for Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal.
After two Métis men were killed outside of Glendon earlier this year, their family members saw racist comments online saying they might have been up to something bad and, essentially, caused their own deaths.
That has to be one of the worst things I have ever heard.
These two men were murdered. They will never smile or hug their loved ones again. Their family won’t be able to speak with them, ask them for advice, have a conversation, or anything ever again.
They were someone’s son, brother, husband, father, and friend.
While their family is grieving their loss, someone makes a horrible comment that belittles their deaths with a racist comment.
How dare you.
No one deserves to die in such a horrible way, and how do you make such a flippant comment about someone you’ve never met before? You made an assumption based on the colour of their skin, and completely disregarded who they were.
I never met Jacob Sansom or Morris Cardinal, but after attending the rally I felt like I knew them. Hearing their family members speak about them was so raw and truthful.
Others from the community stepped up and shared their own experiences with racism here in Bonnyville, which was even more impactful for me.
Oftentimes when racism is brought up in a conversation, people are quick to brush it off as an issue that doesn’t happen in their hometown. Just because it might not impact someone directly, they assume it’s an issue that occurs in other ‘bad’ places.
The rally was a stark reminder that racism does happen everywhere, and you don’t have to go far to find examples.
Something needs to be done, and I hope this rally is a starting point for bigger reform. We need to try to educate ourselves about other's experiences and realize that what someone else has gone through is different that our understanding. Just because we may not experience racism or rarely do, doesn’t mean another person doesn’t see it on almost a daily basis.