Anti-Racism Car Rally and Virtual Panel in Support of the Cowichan Tribes
Thank you so much to everyone who participated and showed support for the anti-racism car rally and virtual panel on Sunday, January 24.
We are so humbled by the strength of our community that showed their unrelenting support and solidarity for the Cowichan Tribes during this difficult time. In the face of the pandemic, there have been unacceptable instances of racism.
We must remember: this is not new. There has always been racism in our communities. The difference now is that we are all talking about it and we will not stand for it.
Over 55 vehicles showed up at the car rally after receiving just a few days notice of the event. Cars decorated with posters, flags, and banners drove through Duncan and North Cowichan with lights flashing and horns honking to say enough is enough.
After the peaceful car rally, there was a virtual panel featuring Cowichan Tribes community members, as well as white allies and local leaders. The panelists who dedicated their time to speaking about the history of racism and their experiences included Elder Tousilum (Ron George), Cowichan Tribes Elder; Joseph Elliott, Cowichan Tribes Member; Stephanie Atleo, Cowichan Tribes councillor; Jared Qwustenuxun Williams, Cowichan Tribes Elders kitchen manager; Lynn Taylor Weaver, Cowichan Intercultural Society Executive Director. The panel was moderated by MLA Sonia Furstenau with closing remarks by MP Alistair MacGregor.
There was a Question & Answer portion at the end of the panel, in which we saw countless community members voice their support and eagerness to learn/unlearn and help create change. People shared their own collection of resources for dismantling racism and fostering restitution.
Decolonization is vital and we hope all non-Indigenous people will take the time to learn and reflect. The conversations we saw in the panel left us hopeful and inspired that restitution and reconciliation are on their way. We will never stop fighting for Indigenous rights and equity, and we will never stop standing up against racism.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all Cowichan Tribes panelists for lending their emotional labour to raise more awareness about their lived experiences with racism in the Cowichan Valley.
The Equity & Inclusion Task Force will be continuing this conversation and educational experience. Please sign up here to be a part of the conversation.