Following displays of racism within the community, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot is working to have a community conversation about issues related to race.
“We need to address this as a community. It’s absolutely critical that we have a safe place to talk about this.”
Summerland’s first Black mayor, Boot has also asked for provincial funding.
Her calls for a dialogue on racism began in July, after the home of an Indo-Canadian family was vandalized on July 13. Windows were broken and graffiti, including swastikas, was left on the wall of the home.
Days later, a Confederate flag, often displayed as a symbol of white supremacy, was shown to participants in an anti-racism parade in the community. Boot said the flag was a bandana which had been purchased at a store in Summerland.
Boot approached the owner of the store and asked to buy all remaining Confederate bandanas. The owner gave her the bandanas, which she then destroyed outside, in front of the store.
The flag display and also the destruction of the bandanas has generated considerable outcry in Summerland.
Boot said she has received some of what she describes as “a really horrible racist voicemail messages” following the incident.
Yet, she has also received many emails and messages in support of her actions.
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