Wilmot Councillor discusses the truths of racism during Facebook Live Conversation
Council Wed, Mar 24th, 2021 Alex Hunt
Wilmot Township councillor, Jennifer Pfenning, hosted a virtual Town Hall conversation with MPP, Laura Mae Lindo to discuss racism to acknowledge The UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The conversation took place on Facebook Live, Sunday, Mar. 21, many topics and issues were brought to light during the hour-long conversation.
“I think a lot of people are afraid of a conversation about racism and it’s not a comfortable one, said councillor Pfenning during the Facebook Live discussion, but I think it’s really important for those to understand, especially those of us who don’t experience racial discrimination on a daily basis or perhaps ever in their lives''.
However, MPP, Laura Mae Lindo, who is also of Jamaican heritage and has devoted her work to the subject, believes that the heavy topic should not be represented and viewed as an uncomfortable discussion but rather as a welcoming conversation of love and inclusiveness. “The more we have this conversation, the more that we can recognize by saying that Black lives matter means that I love myself as a black woman, it’s about love. It’s not supposed to be about fear or about discomfort,” said Lindo.
Lindo emphasizes that elected people of power have an essential responsibility to utilize their resources of power and privilege to effectively bring the community together and propel future opportunities to build and move the community forward, where all matters of race can feel included and loved. However, for this to occur, members of the government should focus on all aspects within the jurisdiction they oversee and bring uncomfortable issues to light.
“Each level of government has a different responsibility,” said Lindo. “I think what has happened over the course of centuries is that people who are elected to power and privilege, only look at what they are responsible for, it’s very easy for them to avoid issues that make them uncomfortable”. Lindo explains that all politicians can make a difference to these issues, no matter what jurisdiction they oversee.
The discussion brings forth the topic of migrant workers in Canada, who are being racially discriminated against and treated unequally. Lindo suggests that writing a letter can send a strong message in advocating that these workers get the proper wage and benefits while working from their homes. “I don’t want to go back to normal, I want to build a new normal, one that works better, one that’s more inclusive, one where conversations like this don’t have to happen,” said councillor Pfenning. Councillor Pfenning and MPP Lindo hope that changes will be implemented in the future and that the discussion can provide people with additional knowledge on the issue moving forward.