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Leduc, Alta., neighbourhood responds to racist letter with block party

Click to play video: 'Block party held after racist letter sent to Leduc family' Block party held after racist letter sent to Leduc family
WATCH ABOVE: A Leduc community is reacting after a family says they received a racist letter in January demanding they leave the neighbourhood. Sarah Komadina has more. – Aug 25, 2019

Kathy Assiniboine has lived in her Leduc, Alta., home in the Corinthia Park neighbourhood for 20 years.

During this time, her house and vehicles have been vandalized, she said.

“The first couple of weeks that we moved here, someone wrote across our driveway, ‘Go back to the res,'” Assiniboine said.

“Over the years people [threw] alcohol bottles on the lawn, ridiculous things like that.”

Assiniboine said the most recent incident happened on Canada Day when their vehicles were vandalized.

Earlier this year, the family spoke out about an anonymous, racist letter delivered right to their doorstep.

READ MORE: Racist letter tells Leduc family ‘we do not like your kind’

Part of the letter reads:

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“To the very unwanted and hated neighbours in Corinthia Park… We do not like your kind around here. You are ruining the neighbourhood.

“There are too many people living in one house. We see in your house and you portray an Indian lifestyle. This is not accepted here.”

Immediately after learning about the incident, other neighbours came to show support for the family.

“I jumped up and came over, introduced myself and told them how shocked and how horrified I was,” Jerrie Andreasson-Richardson said. “I told them that the rest of us don’t feel this way and that started a great friendship between the Assinboines and myself.”

“A couple of neighbours have come out and said, ‘We’re helping you out, we’re watching and making sure you guys are safe and you can come if we need’,” Assiniboine said.

READ MORE: Threatening letter that says ‘this isn’t a reserve’ prompts Alberta family to move

On Sunday, the Assiniboines took things a step further and threw a block party to get to know other neighbours. About 100 people came to take part in free food, face-painting and live music.

“It feels really good to have a lot of neighbours come out with us, celebrate with us and just be really open and welcoming. I’m happy they’re here,” Assiniboine said.

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“I’m really proud of Kathy and her family and how they took a negative and turned it into a positive,” Andreasson-Richardson said. “I think it’s also a great message to whoever was behind those kinds of racist sentiments. As you can see from the results today, that it didn’t end up in the results they were hoping for.”

READ MORE: Community north of Edmonton rallies around family that received hateful letter

Assiniboine hopes this is the first step to building a stronger bond with her neighbourhood.

“I’m hoping it will stop, I’m hoping that it won’t keep happening,” Assiniboine said.

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