Vernon mayor 'disheartened, deeply sorry' racist notes found near schools - InfoNews

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Vernon mayor 'disheartened, deeply sorry' racist notes found near schools

Alex Bennie posted photos of the notes to the Vernon Rant and Rave (uncensored) Facebook Group, sparking outrage in the community.
Image Credit: Alex Bennie
October 01, 2020 - 1:08 PM

Hundreds of racist notes were found by parents scattered around several Vernon schools yesterday — a day designated to represent Indigenous reconciliation.

Parents and school staff moved quickly to remove the notes yesterday, Sept. 30, which bore a link to a known white supremacy website. Vernon RCMP said several of the leaflets were turned into police and an investigation is underway to find the person or persons responsible for distributing the material. Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP.

"I am disheartened and deeply sorry about the events that took place in our community yesterday," Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said in a statement today, Oct. 1. "Even more concerning is that these notes were strewn about near schools – a place where children and families are meant to feel safe and supported."

READ MORE: Hundreds of notes linked to racist website found scattered at Vernon schools

Cumming extended his thanks to the parents and staff who removed the notes. 

"My gratitude runs deep for your immediate response to a despicable act that has had far reaching impacts," he said. "Orange Shirt Day may be a one day event, but we must stand today – and every day – as allies with the Indigenous peoples of these lands, and together, firmly reject all acts of hate, racism and discrimination."

For those wondering what to do about racism in their community in the wake of this incident, the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan offered some advice.

"To parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, please talk with your children about racism and what it means to be anti-racist," the council said in a statement.

The organization posted resources to help with this task on their Facebook page, and will be hosting anti-racism events beginning at the end of this month.

The Social Planning Council is partnering with the Okanagan Regional Library, Restorative Justice Society North Okanagan and two local Indigenous educators to host an online webinar called How to be an Ally on Oct. 27.

This will be followed by two smaller online Peace Circles on Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Cumming also urges parents to start the conversation with their children.

"We as a community need to talk about racism and what it means to be anti-racist and an ally," he said. "I encourage you to speak with your children and loved ones about these things so we can learn from our past, as well as from each other’s personal lived experiences."

— This story was updated at 2:14 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 to add comment from RCMP.

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