To the Editor
Re: “No suspects yet on notes”
On behalf of the members and staff of the Vernon Teachers’ Association, I’m writing to express our shared disgust and outrage at the repeated distribution of racist leaflets around schools and the defacing of a local candidate’s campaign poster with a sexist slur and a Nazi swastika. These divisive acts have an impact on our communities and our families and especially our most vulnerable. It raises questions and concerns among children — questions which they should not have to navigate alone. In response, the Vernon Teachers’ Association finds it crucial to publicly decry this activity.
It is cruelly ironic that the leaflets were first distributed on Orange Shirt Day, a day to focus on truth and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. And the misogynist targeting of NDP candidate Harwinder Sandhu, a woman of colour, adds further insult to injury. It is deeply distressing to see this evidence of racialized hatred, which should have absolutely no place in our community.
As teachers, we work hard to educate young people about the importance of equity and inclusion in our democracy. These shameful events remind us how very important that work is and make us even more resolved to join with our colleagues across the Okanagan and throughout the province to ensure that anti-racism education is part of the curriculum for all BC children and youth.
In the face of a global pandemic and rising social injustice, let’s build the bonds of community and solidarity, not fan the flames of bigotry. Let’s be compassionate and do what we can for each other.
Cori Huizer, President, Vernon Teachers’ Association