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Anti-racism rally in Nanaimo postponed due to threat of violence

Organizers intend to hold event at a later date
An anti-racism rally, to be held in Nanaimo this past Sunday, June 20, was postponed due to a threat of violence. (Stock photo)

An anti-racism rally in Nanaimo was postponed due to a racist threat.

An Anti Racism Car Rally, which was supposed to happen Sunday, June 20, in the Vancouver Island University parking lot, was postponed after a threat of violence.

Janis Harris, co-lead of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith spoke of the Resilience B.C. Anti-Racism Network, told the News Bulletin someone claiming to be a member of a white supremacist group e-mailed event organizers threatening to shoot anyone involved in the event.

She said the network, which already had RCMP membership, made a decision together to postpone the car rally until a safety plan could be put in place.

Rachna Singh, B.C. parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, issued a statement, saying that the threats are “unacceptable” and condemned the behaviour of the person or persons responsible.

“This incident is further proof of why it’s so important that we continue to oppose racism and discrimination, which has seen an increase in our province throughout the pandemic,” Singh said. “We must come together as a society to speak out against racism and show our support for Nanaimo and Ladysmith, as well as other communities in the province that are experiencing racism. We all stand to benefit when we live in a society that is free of hatred and discrimination.”

Singh added that the threats “will not scare or intimidate us into submission,” and expressed an intention to personally attend Nanaimo’s anti-racism car rally when it does happen.

Organizers do intend to try again to put on the event, which Harris said took a lot of planning, money and energy.

“We can’t let exactly what we’re actually working for be this thing that stops us from moving forward…” she said. “We are going to take our stand and make it happen.”

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog issued a statement saying that society must accept that unfortunately, racism still exists in 2021.

”And, in order to have a future free from racism and hate, we must learn and take actionable steps to end both racism and hate,” he said.

READ ALSO: Racism hotline in the works for B.C., officials announce

READ ALSO: 71% BIPOC experience racism in Greater Victoria, report finds

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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