racism canada

Calgary's mayor is being applauded for his moving words on racism in Canada

As protests continue across Canada against anti-Black racism, the death of George Floyd and police brutality, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi took to Twitter to share some moving words on Tuesday.

"Like many of you, I have been profoundly disturbed by, well, everything this past week," he wrote. "We've been reminded of the reality of racism, here and everywhere."

He began by sharing "Harlem," a poem written in 1951 by acclaimed Black American poet Langston Hughes.

Nenshi admitted that there's no clear path forward to healing the divisions in our society.

"I've spent much of my life fighting for human rights. I've worked within the system, and even got elected to office," he said. "I've also organized and participated in many peaceful protests. I've tried to ease that heavy load. But I don't have all the answers."

He says that while so much has changed for minority communities and people of colour, "it has not changed enough."

Nenshi says that it's easy for Canadians to separate ourselves from the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minnesota by imagining that systemic racism doesn't exist in Canada, but that, in fact, it does.

Nenshi pointed to an incident that happened earlier this week, when Minister Ahmed Hussen was called a derogatory term by the founding chairman of the United Conservative Party after Hussen shared his experience of racism in Canada.

"When a federal minister spoke of his experience as a Black man in Canada this week, and his concerns for his children, he was derided, even called 'an f**n loser,'" Nenshi wrote.

These were the words that Hussen shared.

"When I raise issues of racism in the community myself, I'm often accused of playing the 'race card,'" Nenshi wrote. "Trust me, the race card is very rarely part of a winning hand."

"It's not enough to not be a racist in our own lives," he said. "We need to commit to being anti-racist and actively condemn racism wherever we see it."

Nenshi says that he is "very proud" of Calgarians for coming together to protest against anti-Black racism in recent days, although he reminded Canadians that there are still technically public health limitations on gatherings of large groups.

He also addressed the Calgary Police Service, saying that they have "been on a long and continuing journey to be better allies to all they serve, particularly those in marginalized communities."

"We all need to come together," he said. "To stand for what's right. That's the only way to make the world a better place."

Nenshi has received widespread praise for his stirring words, with dozens of people applauding the mayor for speaking out against racism in Canada.

"[We] need more people like Nenshi in Canada," one person wrote.

"Proud you are my mayor," another one said. "Thank you."

"Well put, Nenshi," one person wrote. "Let's keeping working on this, every day."

"For Canadians, this whole thread is worth reading," another person said. "I'm in BC, not Alberta, but it applies across Canada. And Nenshi is one of the best leaders we have."

"Thank [you] Mayor Nenshi for saying what so many of us are unable to say," yet another person said. "Your words have touched my heart."

Canadians continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement through things such as Blackout Tuesday, protesting anti-Black racism and educating themselves on other ways to help.

Lead photo by

Dani


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