Saturday, March 19 Spice Radio will host events across Vancouver for Raise Your Hands Against Racism.
Supporters around the world are posting pictures of their hands raised to social media with the #HandsAgainstRacism hashtag, representing their opposition to racism, and their support of those affected.
On March 19 CBC’s Dan Burritt will host the main event at the Roundhouse Community Centre, including traditional Holi dances, the history of the festival, and even a talk from a former white supremacist recruiter who has since changed his ways and now works to get others out of racist organizations.
Here are a few stories from Vancity Buzz readers affected by racism:
“It is hard to be in a room and be the only woman of colour. Whether it’s for work, while shopping at a store, or going to see a movie, it can be overwhelming and difficult. You often become the epicentre for questions like, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘What is your background?’ ‘What is your heritage?’ before someone even knows your name. It immediately questions why I am here and my validity as a Canadian pointing out that I visibly look like an outsider, regardless of the intention behind the question. What keeps me focused and grounded is knowing that other young girls will see me occupying a space they might have otherwise deemed off limits and it will encourage them to do the same. It may be difficult for me today, but my perseverance and insistence to be treated equal will only make it easier for the next generation of women of colour.”
– Karin Alleyne, 28
“A woman came in to my work and, after glancing at me for a while, asked if I was ‘an Oriental.’ I’m mixed race, so she obviously wasn’t sure, but she said it in a way that made it clear she didn’t know it was wrong. When I asked why she thought that, she pulled the corners of her eyelids back with his fingers and said it was something about my eyes. It was like I was living in the 1920s. Why did she have the ask? Why did it matter?”
– Anonymous, 26
“My experience is one of a black Canadian male. That means that, unlike America where I would be hated and feared, I’m more a novel idea here. What that means is that instead of ignorant people telling me to go back to Africa, I have ignorant people asking me stupid questions, or expecting me to be a certain way, or like certain things. It’s fairly straightforward to manage, but the truth is not a day goes by that I’m not reminded that I’m different. Also, can we get everyone on Facebook to stop acting surprised when racist/horrible s*** happens? Like, be appalled, but stop acting like you just discovered that racism is still a thing.”
– Anonymous, 28
Vancity Buzz is a proud sponsor of Raise Your Hands Against Racism