Town of Altona/Rhineland Municipality Response to Racism
Our communities are deeply enriched by the diverse cultures and backgrounds of those who call Altona and Rhineland home. We, as your municipal leaders, are here to listen, learn, and act. Right now, members of our communities are hurting in response to the killing of George Floyd last week in Minnesota, the most recent in a string of murders of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour across North America.
All Canadians have a role to play in confronting systemic racism – this is not something that is only happening south of the border. Racism is a problem across Canada, across Manitoba, and right here in the Pembina Valley. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can say that racism does not belong in our communities, and put in the work to listen to and elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, educate ourselves, and take action to break down systems of racism. We can refuse to stand by and be a part of the problem, and be a part of the solution instead.
Our local Chief of Police, Perry Batchelor, shared these words. “I was sickened and saddened by the actions of these former police officers, even worse hearing George Floyd’s final words, ‘I can’t breathe.’ Words that have become the mantra at demonstrations taking place around the world. I will not armchair quarterback this terrible situation, but I will say that it is important to speak out against racism and abuse; whether at the hands of police or a member of the public. I truly believe that we live in an incredible piece of Canada but also know we are not immune to racism. We can and must do our part to act against it. When you hear it or see it, be brave and speak out!”
One of the ways that we, as municipal leaders, receive information on issues like racism is from our local groups that focus on support for newcomers such as; Pembina Valley Local Immigration Partnership, the Altona and Area Immigration Coordinating Committee, Build A Village and Regional Connections. These partnerships help keep us informed about issues facing newcomers in our communities, but we acknowledge that racism is an issue that affects more than our newcomer population. We have begun building connections with our Indigenous neighbours from Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation, and know that we have more work to do.
We don’t have all of the answers, but we are listening. Let’s work together to keep our communities safe and welcoming for all.
Contact your Mayor or Reeve:
Mayor Al Friesen, Town of Altona
Reeve Don Wiebe, Rhineland Municipality