United Churches in North Perth launch ‘We Value Diversity’ anti-racism campaign

·3 min read

NORTH PERTH – Members of the Trinity and Atwood United Churches have started a “We Value Diversity” lawn signs campaign as a way for residents to show support for the BIPOC community in Perth County.

Sarah Bruer said the signs are a response to recent events at Perth County council.

“Our goal is that by having signs visible around the community we hope to send a message to the county councillors that diversity is valued in this community, to put a little pressure on to further the work that the Multicultural Association is doing and just continue to make sure that councillors hear this (issue) matters to people,” she said.

“The signs are also intended to send a message to those who live with racism in this community and those who were harmed by the decisions of the councillors and the ongoing decisions. It’s a message of support that they are valued. They are respected. They are needed.”

Bruer said a decision was made to have the focus of the signs be on racism, not other social injustices.

“One of the things that often happens when we start to talk about racism is when we continue the conversation and we focus on racism and white privilege, we often veer off to other justice issues because it’s more comfortable to talk more broadly than it is too narrow in on one particular injustice,” she said. “The more we narrow in, the more uncomfortable people become.”

When they decided to start the campaign, the conversation in the community was focused on racism.

“There was talk, do we add little rainbows to them or whatever, and we made an intentional decision to truly just stick to the conversation at hand at the moment,” said Bruer.

“I think the question gets asked by people – don’t white lives matter? – and I think the reality of our society is set upon us knowing every day that white lives matter. We don’t need to say white lives matter because white people see themselves reflected in their teachers at school and the people in the stores and they are not followed around in the stores and they are reflected in the people who are on the county council. We know by the nature of living in this society with white privilege that we have that our lives matter. It’s people who do not get that message every day that that message is needed for.”

The “We Value Diversity” lawn signs are now on sale. The cost of each sign is $15. Each sign comes with a wire stake to use in the ground. However, because of the time of year, it is advised that the wire stakes not be used in the snow.

To order signs, email Sandy Earl at sandyearl1973@gmail.com. Please use “lawn sign” in the subject line of the email. Once an order is received, a confirmation email will be sent which will include the password to use for an e-transfer.

Bruer said proceeds from the signs will be put toward further social justice, inclusion and diversity projects in the community.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner