”I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Martin Luther King did not live to see his dream realized. And to our collective shame, 57 years after he expressed those immortal words at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, the scourge of racism and injustice continues to stubbornly persist.
There is racism in Canada, in Ontario, and in our communities.
It is based on ignorance and fear.
It has been pernicious. It has been systemic. It has been dehumanizing.
However, we know that no one is born racist. Racism is an acquired belief system, passed on like a virus from one person to another.
But just as a virus is contagious, so too is virtue.
That is why we can all play a role in the eradication of racism. Not in some distant future, but now, in our time.
It starts with leadership in government.
All of us in elected public office have a responsibility to speak out against racism in all its forms, wherever we encounter it. We must work together to confront it, seeking to eliminate discrimination wherever it exists.
Government programs and policies must be reviewed to support and promote inclusion.
You can help.
We all need to listen carefully to the voices of those who have lived experience of intolerance and prejudice.
We all need to recognize and acknowledge that enormous privilege has been denied to many people, based not on the content of their character, but on the colour of their skin.
We all need to call out racist jokes and stereotypes, even when it’s hard to do so.
We all need to seek greater understanding and empathy, by reading books and consuming media that open our minds to new ideas and fresh perspectives.
We all need to reflect on what “community” really means.
And, we all need to look beyond a person’s appearance, and into their heart.