A town councillor for the District of Summerland says like any other city, racism exists in the South Okanagan community.
“Yeah, there is a problem in our community like in other communities. Let’s not sweep it under the carpet,” councillor Martin Van Alphen told Global News on Tuesday.
Van Alphen was talking about a motion he put forth at Monday’s council meeting that Summerland should endeavour to start community conversations regarding racism.
“Let’s have a conversation about it and let’s try to do better,” Van Alphen said.
But what about the people of Summerland? Do they think there’s a problem with racism here in their community?
Global News sat down with some area residents at The Beanery Cafe in downtown Summerland to find out.
The question posed was: Do you think there is an underlying current of racism in Summerland?
The question of racism in any community is a delicate subject and the answers we found were varied.
The people we spoke were divided almost 50-50.
Half said there was no problem, and that the recent alleged hate crime against the Lekhi family was an isolated incident.
The other half said Summerland was experiencing racism, but no more than any other community.
“Yes, there is a problem with racism in Summerland, just like there is in every other community in Canada,” said Bill Fulton a longtime Summerland resident.
Everyone Global News spoke to Wednesday welcomed the idea of dialogue regarding racism in the community.
“Racism is all over the place, all over the world. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Summerland or where it is, it’s all over,” said Janet Manderscheid, a recent Summerland newcomer.
“I absolutely think its a great idea,” said Victoria Elise. “Any form of discussion open safe communication healthy communication should be always welcomed in a community.”