Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Building on diversity makes a better community
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 11 Oct 2006, p. 6

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Dear editor, Re: Diversity March is not `reclaiming our space' (Letter to the editor, Sept. 20, Independent & Free Press). When people hear the comment that "Georgetown and a lot of Halton are known for racism," it's easy to understand why they become defensive, feeling that they, personally, have been accused of being racist. What this comment suggests, on the other hand, is that there is a perception among many people outside of this region that racism does, indeed, exist within our communities. This perception, whether we like it or not, is fairly widespread. I have encountered it personally, when I worked in Toronto, and have heard similar reports from friends and family members who live or work outside of the region. Whether this stems from the visit by the KKK in 1993, or from other events since, seems like a pointless discussion. In an effort to look forward and be pro-active, rather than reactive, the youth involved with POSSE (Peer Outreach Support Services and Education) are to be commended for organizing a March for Diversity with the objective of sending a clear message that everybody is welcome in our community. End of message. When Sarah McLean writes "Do not thrust your beliefs and ethics upon us with little regard for our culture and heritage," I have to wonder which part of "Please feel welcome in our community" she objects to. I also have to wonder what exactly she means by white culture, since a search of the Internet under this topic brings up an incredible variety of sites, including some that might fall under the category of promoting hatred. I suspect there would be as many different definitions of "white culture" as there are shades of "white". However, if Ms. McLean is interested in sharing the history, artistic achievements and traditions of her culture and heritage, whatever it might be, I would like to invite her to join the North Halton Cultural Awareness Council (NHCAC), whose mandate is to encourage understanding and acceptance among people of all different cultures and backgrounds. The NHCAC also supported the March for Diversity, recognizing that, in order for communities to thrive, they must provide an environment where all residents can realize their full potential, both as individuals and citizens. It is in our own best interests to tap into this goldmine of diverse ideas and talents and to build on diversity as the foundation for a healthy, vibrant community. Judy Scannell, North Halton Cultural Awareness Council

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11 Oct 2006
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Building on diversity makes a better community