Richmond residents rally against racist flyers
'These are my friends and they're my neighbours,' says demonstrator
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.
"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.
"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.