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Activists call for racism action

More than 100 people attended event held July 4 at Centennial Park
Sadia Khan, an organizer from Red Deer, speaks during Saturday's rally in Olds. Murray Elliott/MVP Staff

OLDS — Speakers at Saturday’s anti-racism rally at Centennial Park called for more to be done to fight discrimination in rural communities, including in central Alberta.

Sponsored by Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta, the rally was held to raise awareness of racism issues and to promote community action.

Organizer Sadia Khan called for district residents to “actively become anti-racist” going forward.

“You are on the right side of these historical movements that are taking place here in central Alberta,” said Khan. “I want you act locally. I don’t want you to think racism is another country’s problem. We are in 2020 and there is no excuse to say ‘I have no idea what is happening.’ Racism is an Alberta issue and it’s a community issue.

“When I hear there is no racism that exists in our community, I ask, 'Who is your source? Who is telling you there is no racism?'”

She called on community leaders to spearhead anti-racism efforts in the region.

“(In) your community of Olds, I want you to keep holding yourselves, your community, your workplaces accountable,” she said. “Hold your mayors and councillors accountable.”

Speaker Ben Anderson called for dialogue and reconciliation.

“We need to be really slow to anger when we are talking to someone,” he said.

“I would like everyone be able to start a conversation so we can assess the damage that has been done to the Black community.”

Several other speakers at the rally also called for community action.