Members of Summerland council and municipal staff are pictured in a July 13 meeting. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff are pictured in a July 13 meeting. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland councillors concerned following racist graffiti incident

Councillors took the time to share their concerns during a meeting on July 20

Summerland’s councillors are deeply concerned and in some cases, surprised, after a family’s home was vandalized on the evening of Monday, July 13.

The Lekhi family has been living in Summerland since 1987, building their home on Hespeler Road in 1990. The homeowners were home at the time of the incident. Kiran Lekhi said she heard a bang and saw broken glass in one of the bedrooms.

The house was also spray-painted with vulgar drawings and a swastika, leaving the family shaken and disturbed.

During the July 20 meeting, councillors talked about the incident, how concerning it was, and how surprising.

“Mrs. Lekhi was absolutely distraught, not understanding why someone would do this to their home,” Counc. Marty Van Alphen said.

“It’s just baffling to see this in our community. This isn’t us, this isn’t Summerland. We need to be better, and this is the time to have a community conversation about this.”

Counc. Doug Holmes said the council has a plan to celebrate and uplift diversity and multiculturalism in Summerland, and that maybe it’s a good time to revisit the plan and see where the district can do better in terms of being inclusive.

“People have said that food, lively festivals and dancing can help celebrate cultures, even a cultural map that can show where residents come from originally,” Holmes said.

“In our cultural plan, we have an action item: to recognize Summerland’s cultural diversity. Maybe we haven’t done that well enough. When we do have festivals, where is the multicultural component?”

Mayor Toni Boot pointed out there is a difference between celebrating cultures in Summerland and talking about the racism against those cultures, which is what has happened recently.

“I’m not suggesting we dismiss this, but I think the discussions that we have to have as a community go well beyond celebrating multiculturalism and celebrating diversity,” Boot said.

“The difficult conversation is around the racism and I don’t want that to be pushed aside because it has been pushed aside forever. Not just in this community, but in all communities.”

She added despite some of the councillors’ shock at the incident, she herself isn’t.

“Having grown up here, I continue to say this isn’t a racist town but there is an underlying element of racism in this town and I’ve been subjected to it over and over and over again.”

READ: Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Summerland home

READ: Racist act sparks Summerland family to raise funds for unity display


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan High Rim Trail officially opened in April 1994. Pictured are Western Canada Wilderness Committee volunteers Bruce Sumner and Jean Elmer. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives photo #14932)
Vernon history in pictures

A look at the opening of a trail running from Vernon to Kelowna

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

Kerri and Kevin Black are highlighted for their volunteer work with the Carr's Landing Community and Recreation Association. (Contributed)
Lake Country couple’s passion to make a difference

Spotlight on Carr’s Landing Community and Recreation Association volunteers

Pink Shirt Day’s anti-bullying messaging on Feb. 24 should be understood every day of the year. (Contributed)
COLUMN: Millennial’s guide to online trolls, bullies

Messages of Pink Shirt Day should be front of mind all year long, especially online

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Most Read