A group of Fernie residents concerned about systemic racism and white privilege are organizing a public listening project entitled The Awareness and Accountability Project. Hosted rain or shine from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday June 14, the event seeks to respond to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by initiating important conversations. Participants are to meet at 2 p.m. on the west side of Second Avenue between 6th Street and 7th Street.
According to event organizer Kerri Wall, the organizers have opted for a non-performative way to converse and learn about navigating and undoing the system of white privilege. Shared at the event will be resources, links to websites about systemic racism, books about white supremacy, and further information on the BLM movement.
“Anti-Black racism is a crisis in this country as well as many others, including the nation to the south. Recently released Toronto Public Health data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting racialized neighbourhoods in that city,” said Kerri Wall, event organizer. “Similar data from British Columbia shows that Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) live shorter lives and suffer with higher incidence of chronic health conditions than their white neighbours. High school graduation rates across Canada are lower for BIPOC, incarceration rates are higher, and poverty rates are higher too. Is white silence equal to violence when it comes to this situation? We think so.”
Event organizers believe that in order to change the system of disadvantage based on colour of skin, white people must recognize how they benefit from the system, and follow the lead of BIPOC representatives who have been fighting the battle for generations.
Though the logistics of the event are still being organized, interested residents are urged to search The Fernie Awareness and Accountability Project on Facebook for updates.