Antonia Victor (in cedar hat), Women of Sto:lo co-ordinator, joined by Allyson Marchand, Soraya Felix, Toni Douglas-Nendick, Jacqueline Silver, and Mayor Ken Popove, marking the MMIW Day of Remembrance on Oct. 4, 2019 on the Coqualeetza grounds. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress file)

Mayor of Chilliwack says it’s time to have ‘uncomfortable conversations’ about racism

‘It’s past time we listen to those who haven’t been heard, and extend kindness to everyone,’ mayor says

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove said he was “shaken” by the news of the murder of George Floyd in the U.S. last week, acknowledging it as an example of “systemic” racism.

“I don’t feel I have the right words to describe all the emotions that washed over me after the news of George Floyd’s murder by a police officer in Minnesota,” Popove said in his daily statement.

“The knowledge that this was not an isolated incident but an example of systemic widespread racism has shaken me to my core and left me asking what I can do to make a difference.”

Racism exists in Canada and even in Chilliwack, he underlined, “and we need to stand together against it.”

But Chilliwack is also becoming more diverse as it grows, and becoming a more inclusive community is very important to him.

“It’s time to have those uncomfortable conversations about racism,” Popove said.

That’s why the prospect of working on the Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility as co-chair was exciting.

“I know that learning from people with lived experience will help me better understand what needs to change locally,” he said, pledging to use his time “to listen, to make marginalized and oppressed voices heard,” and to make the changes needed to build a more equitable and inclusive community.

The mayor urged people to learn something new about minority groups in Chilliwack and the rest of Canada.

He also encouraged anyone interested in the topic to check out the online resources of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

“It’s past time that we listen to those who haven’t been heard, and extend kindness to everyone,” Popove said.

“Be kind, respectful and curious. When we stop and listen to one another, we have the opportunity to gain new perspectives.

“This way I hope we can move forward together as a stronger, more diverse community.”

READ MORE: March against racism in Chilliwack June 5

READ MORE: Man paints over racist graffiti


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
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