Hi, I’m Kasari Govender, BC’s Human Rights Commissioner.
Today I join Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin in taking the ‘Different Together’ anti-racism pledge, and in speaking out and taking action against racism in British Columbia.
There can be no doubt that the violence we are witnessing is catalyzed by the pandemic and the challenges it brings. COVID-19 has changed our lives forever, bringing great uncertainty and heightening anxiety and fear.
That fear has some of us falling back on old racist tropes, racist words that have quickly escalated to physical violence.
We must recognize that the hate we are witnessing is part of a long histories of racism in our province and our communities, but hate is not inevitable.
We all have a role to play in interrupting racism and hate with our words and actions. It’s up to each of us to stand up for and with our friends and neighbors.
Often the act of bearing witness is enough to change the dynamic of a situation. You can stand beside the person being targeted and let them know that you're here for them. You can choose to walk away with them from the situation so that they don't have to walk away alone. You can record what’s happening and report it. Where it’s safe for you to do so, you can intervene directly to say that spreading hate is not ok.
Please join me in speaking up and standing up against racism in our communities.