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This article was published 24/8/2017 (786 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BRANDON — Each of the more than 50 people who attended an anti-racism demonstration Wednesday outside Brandon University carried their own reason to be there.
Pointing to the Appareil family’s sign — which read "Multiculturalism is Good" — Brandon-Westman Council of Canadians chapter president Scott Blyth said they had best distilled the day’s overarching message.
"You see our family," Nicolas Appareil said, motioning to his wife and two children. "My family shows you everything."
Originally from Mauritius, the family came to Canada nine years ago.
Appareil said people have offered a mixed bag of acceptance. However, by preserving their culture and demonstrating their own acceptance of diversity, he hopes things will get better.
"We should be bringing people together, not apart," agreed his daughter, Gwen.
Appareil’s wife, Marie Lenza, added: "Respect is everything."
Wednesday’s anti-racism demonstration was organized by the local Council of Canadians chapter in reaction to recent violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. Blyth said earlier this week even though that large-scale demonstration took place south of the border, it doesn’t mean Canadians are free from racism closer to home.
Anglican Bishop William Cliff of the Brandon diocese joined clergy from throughout the city at the demonstration, and said standing up against racism is central to their mission.
He relayed what St. Paul said in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Nancy McLennan went to Brandon from Minnedosa to remind people about the prevalence of white privilege. She believes its slowly diminishing prevalence has fuelled recent white supremacist activity in North America.
"Unfortunately, they’re mistakenly blaming people of other-coloured skin when they should be blaming their parents and their grandparents and the institutions that have perpetuated the privilege idea," she said. "It’s a very damaging construct in our society."
After McLennan flipped the bird at a motorist who’d done the same to her, it became apparent early in Wednesday’s demonstration not everyone is willing to accept the premise of white privilege she came out to share.
It has become ingrained in our society, she said, adding lighter-skinned people experience forms of privilege every day, such as the ease at which they secure rental accommodations or employment compared to others.
"Children need to be taught what it is and that it’s not a valid way to look at the world," she said.
Meanwhile, Brandon pipefitter Jesse Wielenga, 30, who is vice-president of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam — Canada, is planning an anti-immigration rally in Winnipeg for Sept. 9.
— Brandon Sun