Manitoba MLA 'saddened' but undeterred by racist graffiti on bus bench with her image
MLA Audrey Gordon denounces act of 'overt prejudice, hostility and negative feelings about Black people'
A Progressive Conservative member of the legislative assembly is denouncing an act of racism after a bus bench with her image in her riding was defaced with the N-word.
MLA Audrey Gordon (Southdale) said the racist slur that was scrawled across her forehead in the ad doesn't represent the views of residents living near Cottonwood Road and Autumnwood Drive, where the bus bench is located.
"I was really shocked and saddened to see the defacing of the bench and the word written on it," said Gordon.
"These acts have no place in our province, our country, our city and they should be denounced."
Gordon was among a trio of Black MLAs to be elected in Manitoba last fall — the first three in the province.
Someone from the Windsor Park area sent her a Facebook message on Sunday morning reporting the graffiti.
She said the graffiti was likely left by one person "attempting to spread hate." But to the people who see this incident and think it's a one-off act, Gordon said it shouldn't be minimized.
"There are still individuals who hold these negative views and stereotypes and prejudices about Black people, so it tells us we need to continue to have the conversations we're having," said Gordon.
"We can't foolishly believe that it doesn't happen or that there is no racism and it doesn't exist — it does and we must take action."
WATCH | 'An attack attack on me is an attack on everyone in this community':
The racist act comes on the heels of protests in Winnipeg and across the continent in recent months after the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
His death set off a massive wave of demonstrations in North America and beyond and reignited calls for an end to racial injustices.
Gordon said it's imperative communities stand in solidarity to denounce acts of racism such as those displayed in the bus bench.
Messages with racist connotations also recently popped up on the concrete barrier that separates vehicles from pedestrians on the Osborne Bridge.
A city spokesperson said crews planned to remove that graffiti Monday. It was gone before 1 p.m.
"When the city becomes aware of graffiti that is racist in nature, it is prioritized and it is removed as quickly as possible," the spokesperson said in a statement," the spokesperson said in an statement, while encouraging Winnipeggers to report such incidents to 311.
A spokesperson with the Progressive Conservative Caucus also confirmed Monday afternoon that the Windsor Park bus bench graffiti had been removed.
Gordon said she won't let anyone "dampen, dim or diminish" her, channelling the late civil rights icon John Lewis. She remains undeterred.
"It only takes a seed — a negative seed like this — to begin to spread across the community. So, it's my bench today; it could be the church tomorrow; it could be a synagogue the next day. An attack on me is an attack on everyone in this community," she said.
"I know how horrible I felt when I saw that, and so any acts that diminish a person in any way shape or form should be taken seriously because it's serious for that individual."
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.