British Columbia

Richmond residents rally against racist flyers

About 60 people braved Friday's wintery weather for a noon hour rally to speak out against racist flyers that were recently distributed to homes in Richmond, B.C.

'These are my friends and they're my neighbours,' says demonstrator

Snow and sleet didn't stop about five dozen people from gathering for a rally against racism. (Belle Puri/CBC)

About 60 people braved Friday's wintry weather for a noon hour rally to speak out against racist flyers that were recently distributed to homes in Richmond, B.C.

Leaders from a number of different faiths said they're concerned that some people want to divide the community. 

"We are convinced that there are many here in our city, many who will not and cannot remain silent as forces that are aligned with bigotry and racism seek to marginalize, blame or scapegoat a certain segment of our society," said Victor Kim, a minister at Richmond Presbyterian Church. 

Chinese residents targeted

Kim described the rally, held on the plaza of the Richmond Library and Cultural Centre, as a celebration of diversity as opposed to a protest or demonstration. 

Late last month, flyers were circulated in Richmond which contained bigoted comments about immigrants of Chinese descent. The flyers directed readers to an anti-immigration website.

Sign made by Kelly Greene who attended the anti-racism rally. (Belle Puri/CBC )

"We need to realize that immigrants, the Chinese certainly in this instance, bring with them a great culture, bring with them learning, knowledge and bring with them ways to help make our lives better," said Rabbi Howard Siegel, of Beth Tikvah Congregation, in Richmond.

"We need to embrace this in them and in all different peoples and immigrants who come to this great country to find a new opportunity."

Rally against 'fear-mongering'

Richmond has been a multicultural community for a long time and every person is valuable, said Kelly Greene, a Richmond resident who brought a homemade sign to the rally.

Richmond resident Kelly Greene came to the rally because she believes every person is valuable. (Denis Dossman/CBC)

"I'm not interested in fear mongering and I'm not interested in dividing us on racial lines or any other lines," said Greene. 

"These are my friends and they're my neighbours." 

The rally also attracted people from other communities outside of Richmond. 

"In questions of unity along racial lines, religious lines, in terms of culture and our origins, an attack on one is an attack on all," said former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh. 

"If we don't treat it that way, Canada wouldn't be a wonderful country for very long."

Richmond RCMP continue to investigate the distribution of the flyers. 

Another rally is planned for 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Brighouse Station, in Richmond.