I have lived in Innisfail since 1972. It is my home. It is where I earned my livelihood and raised, with my wife Norma, our family.
I am a white 73-year-old man who has had a very privileged life for which I am grateful. I am not a racist in the sense that I seek to harm others or do not care about other races.
However, I do have a lot to learn about non-white people, their stories and their life’s circumstances. Over the last 15 years, my views on non-white people have been changing.
I once believed that if you just “worked hard” you can make a good life. I have come to learn not everyone gets the same chance to work hard as I did, nor receives the benefits from hard work like I did.
Many of our systems are not set up to give everyone an equal chance at a good life and this needs to change. I am willing to continue to learn, grow and help create a community where everyone is not only respected but has an equal opportunity.
Following the Rally Against Racism event, which I attended, I embrace the opportunity for each of us individually, and collectively, to dialogue about how all races of people are treated in our community.
We need to take action to ensure that those who have not been treated fairly receive social justice.
Our civic leaders have started the dialogue by making a commitment to stand against racism and develop policies and procedures to overcome issues of racism and discrimination.
While outside forces, which seek to divide us, have thrust our community into the spotlight, we must rally together. I would respectively ask each of us to take the next steps that allow us to set aside our fears, ask questions and listen humbly and intently, so that we may learn and grow.
Let’s take the time to have those uncomfortable conversations with people who may not share our views as well as with those who have treated unfairly.
This will create a shared understanding of the next steps in our journey to stronger more ethnocentric community.
- W.R. Hopping,