‘Anti-racism is freedom’: CityNews/660 NEWS explores hate in Alberta

CALGARY (CityNews) – As Alberta continues to deal with a number of hate-fueled incidents, 660 NEWS and CityNews wanted to explore the topic and how it’s impacting BIPOC communities.

In a Facebook event, streamed live on the 660 NEWS, CityNews Calgary and CityNews Edmonton Facebook pages, host Crystal Laderas spoke with three prominent leaders in their respective communities.

Teresa Woo-Paw, with Act2endracism and ACCT Foundation, Yousra Jomha, an advocate for Hijabi women and girls, and Adora Nwofor, the president of Black Lives Matters YYC.

In the 30-minute event, several questions were posed to the panelists, including why this is happening in Alberta, how the BIPOC communities feel about the incidents, what supports are offered from policy makers/government and how allies are helping.



On the topic of how it’s impacting Muslim women and girls, Jomha said it’s sent a shock through the community, especially after a recent attack in Prince’s Island Park.

READ MORE: ‘We’re better than that’: Racist incidents denounced in Calgary

“There’s beyond a chill. You have to understand, that for me – this is my identity. This is who I am. I am a beautiful Muslim woman. Modest, humble, I wear a Hijab. I identify [as] Muslim. Not only me, there’s hundreds of me.”

WATCH: Anti-racism rally in Calgary condemns rise in hate crimes

Woo-Paw said that politicians need to be held accountable, and make an appearance, or speak out if there is racist activity.

“I would actually come out every time there was a critical incident. Because people need assurance. We definitely need to look at policy and programs,” Woo-Paw said.

“We need systemic change with a greater sense of urgency… this is the time to act.”

“When it’s around the economy, the change happens tomorrow and what has been happening that those of us who are surviving racial trauma have been doing it so well, it seems like it’s okay – it’s not. We need the change yesterday,” said Nwofor.

FULL VIDEO: #ABBrandedbyHate

“It speaks to hundreds of women across the country that go grocery shopping, putting their grocery carts away, getting spat on, telling them, ‘Go back to the country you came from’ or ‘Go back where you came from.’ I come from planet earth,” Jomha added.

“Politicians, you are my voice. I sent you an email, I spoke to you, I said to you, ‘This is what’s happening’. How many letters do you need to receive from to take it to your party to say, ‘We have an issue in Canada’?”

“For my community, we’re not surprised, we are tired. We don’t want to continue to see people continuing to be harmed, traumatized and living in violence or fear,” Nwofor said.

“We consistently try to send the message that racism is not okay, oppression is not okay. We really want to just get a break so that we can live our lives however we want to.”

WATCH: Experts are warning that a recent rise in suspected hate-fuelled events could drive people away from AB

“Calgary wants to be an international city. We cannot do so with only white people,” Nwofor added.

“Anti-racism is freedom,” she said.

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