Canada Reads·Highlight

Lisa Ray on the loss of hope and the need to acknowledge diverse voices in Canada

The actor and Canada Reads 2019 panellist on the importance of understanding the challenges faced by many immigrant families in this country.
Canada Reads panellist Lisa Ray argues that the novel she is championing, David Chariandy's Brother, cracks open the silence on Canada's issues with systemic racism. 0:36

For Day Three of Canada Reads 2019, the debates were emotionally charged as the contending panellists made the case for why their book should be the one all Canadians should read.

The discussion turned to the literary themes of hope and representation. Actor Lisa Ray, who is defending the David Chariandy novel Brothertalked about the themes in connection to the fictional siblings in the book — and how the economic and racial challenges the characters faced as second generation Canadians in 1990s Toronto have many parallels to the real-life issues in the present day.

"For me the biggest tragedy [in Brother] if we are talking about loss purely, is the loss of hope that you feel in these two brothers. They struggle for their dignity. They struggle for opportunities that they see everyone around them in Canada have. And you see how slowly the system in Canada…. We don't like to confront these things, right? This is an ugly truth that is happening in Canada," said Ray.

"We see how the system in Canada is grinding them down until they lose hope and that, for me, is the greatest loss of all. The fact is, we say that all voices matter in Canada. Black lives should matter in Canada, but they don't always."

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