By SHARYN CARROLL
We have had two rallies for Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) in Ganges. This movement has brought out the richness that ties our community together.
I see allies showing up to help educate themselves and each other, helping with logistics and inviting each other into discussions around equity. People are beginning to see the connection between racism and the climate crisis, which is at the very heart of this issue. Black and brown bodies pay the heaviest price not just in the developing world but also in our world, which tends to have brown people inhabiting places where there is no clean drinking water; ancestral hunting grounds are destroyed in the name of “progress;” lakes and rivers are full of toxic waste, and polluted air is causing illness in adults and children alike. The BLM struggle is also connected to housing insecurity, food insecurity, LGBTQ2S rights, mental health, violence and safety.
Of course there will always be people who resist. Resistance may take many forms. Some of it will be subtle. It may show up as nostalgia for race-insensitive branding, and some of us may feel defensive when we are being called out.
Other times it is going to be more direct: doubling down and retreating into defensive aggression, hate mail and making threats of bodily harm or worse. This is what is occurring here on Salt Spring right now.
Those of us who are working hard, within the movement, to create positive change in our community, while sometimes letting family life and work responsibilities slide, are now having to think a little harder about our own safety.
Of course micro-aggressions and the constant teaching of non-POC can be frustrating and take up a lot of time but nothing can compare to the threats of physical harm we are receiving on social media. Is it seeing images of protesters being beaten in the U.S. that is perceived as giving licence to this behaviour? Every threat we receive is reported to the RCMP and we are working closely with them to ensure that all threats are taken seriously. We will not be intimidated nor distracted from our struggle.
The many different movements fighting against social injustices in our society seem to be coalescing behind Black Lives Matter right now. Let’s hope we all emerge from this tsunami of activism and consciousness-raising to find that, even though the landscape is somewhat different, we all know we can depend on each other to create something better, for everyone.
This writer has lived on Salt Spring for 19 years and is a feminist activist and community organizer.
Editor’s note: Threatening comments were made on the Driftwood’s Facebook page by an individual in response to a post made by Driftwood staff from the June 20 BIPOC rally in Ganges. An RCMP file was opened as a result. The Driftwood reminds Facebook users that we do not tolerate any form of hate speech or personal threats on our page. Comments that contain such language will be removed. People who make such comments will be blocked and reported to Facebook and the appropriate authorities.