SUMMERLAND (NEWS 1130) — When Summerland Mayor Toni Boot discovered Accomplice flag merchandise was being offered at an area greenback retailer, she determined to purge it from the city in an indication in opposition to racism.
On Saturday, the Summerland Mayor sat on the stops outdoors the store with two pals, slicing and ripping 30 bandanas emblazoned with the image into shreds earlier than throwing them within the trash.
“I made a decision earlier than I went to the shop that I used to be going to buy all the merchandise and destroy it,” Boot says. “That exact merchandise was not going to be offered once more.”
That motion got here on the heels of a week-long reckoning with racism within the small Okanagan city that started with the home windows of a South Asian household’s house being smashed, and the outside vandalized with racist graffiti.
“They have been very fearful and shocked and shaken by this, but when the Lekhi household had not reached out to the media, then this complete incident wouldn’t have come to gentle the way in which that it has,” Boot explains.
“It could have been a really personal RCMP investigation, and so they did what for my part has been essentially the most wonderful and brave factor in bringing this out though they have been feeling violated.”
At an anti-racism rally staged in help of the household Thursday, a truck displaying a Accomplice flag was noticed.
Boot says police have been known as, and once they discovered the person who was visiting from Alberta he requested to satisfy with Boot so he might apologize.
“I stated you’re welcome to return again into our city and spend your cash right here, however in the event you’re going to hold a Accomplice flag and show it when you’re right here then don’t even trouble since you’re not welcome right here if that’s the case,” Boot says.
However then the person informed Boot he bought the flag in her city, she determined to confront the shop’s proprietor.
When she went to the shop she was met with some “rigmarole” from the worker who denied the shop was promoting flags.
“I went again and stated I actually need to discuss to the proprietor, I would like him to inform me head to head that he doesn’t have any Accomplice flags,” she says.
Though the shop was not promoting flags, Boot says they did inventory massive bandanas with the image of American slavery and anti-Black racism.
“‘The shop proprietor stated he didn’t perceive what the Accomplice flag was all about, I knowledgeable him and he stated, ‘The rationale I deliver them into the shop is as a result of folks need them.’”
“I stated, ‘Oh do you give them away?’ And he stated, ‘No I promote them.’ I stated, ‘So, you’re profiting off of this racist materials, and you might be in Summerland doing this?”
She supplied to purchase the flags, however says the proprietor finally gave them to her.
“I sat out on the steps and made the very public assertion of slicing and ripping the flags into items as did the 2 pals that have been with me, after which we threw them away.”
Boot says because the concentrating on of the Leki household house earlier this week she has seen an outpouring of help for them and a widespread willingness to face up in opposition to racism.
A GoFundMe marketing campaign to color a everlasting mural with an anti-racist message within the city of Summerland met its $10,0000 fundraising aim inside hours.
“It’s proof that there’s a lot extra love on this group than hate,” Boot says.
“in fact there are these folks that don’t help me and I’ve been receiving some threats and a few fairly nasty electronic mail right this moment. However I’m simply passing these alongside to the police if I really feel threatened or intimidated.”
She retains a pal’s recommendation in thoughts every time she encounters opposition.
“Hold doing what you’re doing and don’t reply to the haters as a result of the haters are going to hate. Hold engaged on behalf of your complete group as a result of actually, what occurred to this household has impacted our complete group.”
A particular assembly known as for Monday, July 20th will talk about how Summerland’s elected leaders can create house to have group conversations on racism.
With information from Kareem Gouda
— to www.citynews1130.com