Pointe Claire resident Allison Saunders broke down in tears at graffiti painted on a sea container in a parking lot at the behind the Complexe Pointe Claire on Monday.
It was the “N-word,” a derogatory expression used against Blacks, spray-painted in red beside an image of a four-legged creature and drawings of male genitalia.
“I’ve never seen it like this,” fumed the Pointe Claire native.
The graffiti also drew the ire of Kemba Mitchell, head of the West Island Black Community Association (WIBCA), who said it reminded her of the racism she experienced as a child.
Mitchell said since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, members of Black communities have been pushing to make others more aware of racism. But according to her, no matter what they do, nothing changes.
“It’s hate,” she insisted.
“That’s what that is, it’s just hate.”
Saunders wants more leadership from her elected officials. During a virtual town hall meeting Sunday night hosted by WIBCA, Pointe Claire Mayor John Belvedere was asked if city officials were planning to address the racism issue publicly.
“I think it’s time to take this situation serious,” the mayor said said during the Zoom meeting.
“We want to help get this situation (moving) forward and we want to help finance it. It seems money is unfortunately at the root of the problem.”
Saunders was furious at Belvedere’s answers and wants he and his administration to do more.
“I have a problem when my leadership doesn’t speak out and say that that stuff isn’t OK in my town,” she said pointing to the graffiti.
Residents started an online petition to replace the “ça va bien aller” COVID-19 message on an electronic billboard in front of city hall with the words “Black lives matter.” Resident Kevin Wilson likes the idea.
“Putting it up is an acknowledgement by my mayor, my city, my people saying, ‘you know what, there is a problem.’
Saunders agrees, and believes it will happen eventually. But she’s annoyed.
“When it happens it’s going to be because they were shamed into making it happen,” she declared.
Global News reached out to the city but has not heard back yet.