Calgary rally held to push for anti-racism action from all levels of government

Indigenous drummers at an anti-racism rally in Calgary Mar. 20, 2022. Global News

The Peace Bridge was fittingly the location of an anti-racism rally in Calgary Sunday, held to commemorate the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Read more: Hate crimes rose ‘sharply’ in 2020 despite police-reported crime drop, data shows

Local social justice groups, including the Association of Mexicans in Calgary, Action Dignity and Immigrant Outreach Society gathered to demand concrete actions from the three levels of government to fight systemic and institutional racism.

Organizer Vanesa Ortiz, chair of the Association of Mexicans in Calgary, said much work remains to be done to bring about sustainable and meaningful change at a policy level.

“At the municipal level, implementing the calls to action of the White Goose Flying report,” said Ortiz.

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“At the provincial level, to stop scapegoating racialized migrants for the spread of Covid. First the Filipino community, then the southeast Asian community endured racist remarks by Premier Kenney. And on a federal level to keep working to give migrant workers, refugees, dignified working conditions.”

Ortiz added the group wants the city to implement a policy similar to Edmonton’s Access to Municipal Services Without Fear.

“That would ensure that undocumented migrants and people without status or with precarious immigrant status can access services in the city without fear of deportation.”

Read more: ‘Tip of the iceberg’: Why Canada’s online hate-crime data doesn’t tell the full story

Recent data shows Canada saw a 37 per cent increase in hate crimes during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Canada said 2,669 hate crimes were reported to police in 2020 — the highest number since comparable data became available in 2009.

Statistics Canada said police-reported hate crimes targeting race or ethnicity rose 80 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019 and accounted for the bulk of the national increase.

Reported hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian people went up 301 per cent; those aimed at Black people went up 92 per cent; hate against Indigenous people was up 152 per cent; and those against South Asian people went up 47 per cent.

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton councillor explains city’s access without fear policy' Edmonton councillor explains city’s access without fear policy
Edmonton councillor explains city’s access without fear policy – Sep 21, 2018

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