“As a Canadian in Calgary, I have never experienced racism in Calgary until about a week ago,” Cornish said while speaking to Global News Morning Calgary on Monday.
He explained that he and his wife were out for a walk in their neighbourhood when they ventured down the back lane behind somebody’s house.
“My wife and I started getting a little bit uncomfortable at that point,” he said. “We continue on and we see that she’s now in her car following us. This continued for a little bit. We get out to a main intersection and she ambushes us.
“[She] pulls up in front of us and then tells us to ‘get out of her neighbourhood and never come back.’”
Cornish said he and his wife have lived in the community for almost 10 years.
Speaking candidly about racism, Cornish said, “it is here. It’s not like this is some issue that’s far away.”
Cornish, who retired from the CFL in 2015, has gone on to help launch the Calgary Black Chambers, which aims to provide mentorship, fellowship, advocacy and scholarships to prepare the next generation of college-aged Canadians for prestigious careers in a professional field.
“We’ve got doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, investment managers, investment bankers… so we covered the whole spectrum of professional services,” he told Global News on Monday.
Cornish said the society leapt into action when COVID-19 hit.
“Very quickly we realized from the students we had been in contact with at SAIT, MRU, different schools — that the international students that were coming into Canada weren’t very well supported during this time.”
“Their support structure almost completely fell apart. So what we did was fundraise within the group, we put together about $3,000,” Cornish explained. “There’s a growing number of people who we’ve been able to help with money to get along through these times.”