Organizer Bridget Stirling speaks at the launch of #HateFreeYEG on September 30 in Churchill Square. Paula E. Kirman
Hate is all around us today. We hear it on the news every day. Yet historically, our “new world’ was founded on the ideal of democracy, equality, and freedom for all. Hate is the opposite – it is arrogant, elitist, oppressive, and ugly. Why do people put down groups of people that are different? Do we think we are better than others? We are not – we are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are responsible for our actions, faults, and mistakes. How can we get back to the original ideal of equality for all? We have just celebrated Remembrance Day where we honour our troops that have fought and died to defend our freedom and democracy. Why do we forget these ideals, when so many soldiers have given their lives for our freedom?
We must acknowledge history and remember the ideals of our forefathers. As North America was being “discovered” and developed, the underlying premise of the first settlers was to create democracy and equality, and yet it was not really equal for all. The men who wrote the constitution of the USA still held slaves. The conquerors from Europe took over much of the so-called uninhabited lands, and the rights of the First Peoples were denied. Other groups were also enslaved or denied their rights. Why does this still happen?
Lately, hate seems to have developed for anyone who is not a descendant of the European Aristocracy or ruling class. We cannot afford to bear that arrogance any longer. Now, we must listen to others, in order to overcome and correct this part of our history before we can move forward. I believe that there is no room for hate in a democracy. We must ALL work together to fight for democracy – or freedom and equality for all people, no matter the colour of our skin, or how we worship.
We must look into our own souls and work diligently to expunge this ugly hate from our hearts. We are the only ones who can change our own beliefs and behaviour. We must take time to really think and listen to each other, to hear how other people understand and experience our world. Talk with someone who is not from your background, who comes from another part of our world. Ask questions and listen to how they view the world – what are their challenges in daily life? We all experience life differently, and we have various challenges to making a living, getting an education, or creating a home. We are individuals living in Canada, where we are free to live, love, and worship as we choose- how lucky we are! There is no room or reason for hate here in Edmonton. Let’s make freedom, love, and equality a wonderful reality in all our lives.
Joanne lives in McCauley.