I attended a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario just one month ago.
We had thousands of protesters show up, hardly any police presence, and NO excessive force or police brutality. It was a successful protest that brought physical unity and awareness to our region, not to mention the massive amount of online support.
I thought that after witnessing racism in my schools while growing up, where a petition had to be started to have Black History Month events, after hearing about the countless racist experiences of my BIPOC friends, where they've actually been told to "build a bridge and get over slavery," that we had finally reached a time of real change.
Then, these started appearing in mailboxes this week.
They were typed, folded, slipped into envelopes, stamped, and even had a nice little "thank you" to health care workers.
But, inside the envelopes are extremely racist, disgusting, and false flyers.
It preached that interracial marriage is awful — that it causes health issues, produces "unfit" members of society, and promotes domestic violence and substance abuse.
None of these statements are true.
The whole flyer is a tactic commonly used by white supremacists. It is racist propaganda. The photo of a white woman and a Black man on that flyer was clearly purposeful. This is a hate crime amidst an especially devastating and dangerous time for Black individuals. It is no time to try and divide the community.
Interracial couples and children of mixed race have faced so much prejudice and judgment. This flyer paints interracial relationships as something negative, as something scary that shouldn't be allowed to happen.
Being an interracial married couple was illegal until 1967 in the deep South, and although legal in Canada, it was highly frowned upon and even dangerous. The anti-miscegenation laws were outrageous.
We're never going to go back to that time of prosecution and discrimination.
I thought that our community members would be educated and accepting of all people, yet this flyer shows there are members of the Kitchener-Waterloo region who still think this blatant racism is OK.
It most definitely is not OK.
This is just another example of what we are fighting against: the racism that has been hidden so well. It's now being brought into the light and it will be eradicated.
Right now, there has yet to be any identification of the person who created and distributed these flyers. However, police are investigating this hate crime, and I hope they do find justice.
Not only were these flyers denounced in the news and by those who received them, but the Kitchener-Waterloo online community has brought it to public attention as well.
The mere existence of these flyers has just added more fuel to the reasons why we need change, not just in Kitchener-Waterloo, but in the rest of Ontario and Canada.
Racism like this can't be tolerated anymore. The Black Lives Matter movement is not just a trend, the lives of BIPOC are targets for hatred and prejudice.
You can't look at that flyer and tell me there's no target.
This kind of thinking can no longer be permitted in 2020, not after the loss of so many lives and the threats to the safety and livelihoods of BIPOC.
Unity is imperative, and this will not go unnoticed.