Joint statement on COVID-19 racism

MURRAY Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, and Sonia Furstenau, BC Green Party leader, on Monday said in a joint statement in response to acts of racism and discrimination against Indigenous peoples under the guise of COVID-19: “We stand together with Indigenous peoples across the province to denounce and condemn in the strongest possible terms the racist behaviour and discrimination directed at Indigenous peoples.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent reports coming from members of Cowichan Tribes and the mounting reports regarding anti-Indigenous racism from many other Indigenous communities throughout the province. Racism toward Indigenous peoples has no place in our society and it must stop. We need to stand up to this kind of reprehensible behaviour.

“As we all grapple with this pandemic, now is the time to come together, to support one another and to be kind to each other so we can all get through these difficult times safely and soundly. We applaud the work the Cowichan Tribes and members of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network are doing together to galvanize the community.

“The disturbing examples related to COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities and the recent report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond into systemic racism in our health care system highlight the need for each of us to take an active role in stopping anti-Indigenous racism and racism in all its forms, everywhere. That is an act of reconciliation in which every one of us as individuals has a clear and critical role.

“We can – and must – do better. Ending racism is an issue that crosses all political stripes. We are calling on everyone in B.C. to come together and show that racism and discrimination will not be tolerated.”