Winnipeg mom wants cultural education for community centres after son targeted
Lisa Harper seeking protection order against man, who no longer works at Champlain Community Centre
A Winnipeg mother whose son was called a "stupid f---ing Indian" by a community centre worker last week says she wants recreation facilities to do more to tackle racism.
Lisa Harper says her 14-year-old son was with friends on Thursday afternoon just outside Champlain Community Centre when a male worker hurled the racial slur at the boy as he yelled at the group to get off the grounds.
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Community centre officials apologized to Harper on Friday and said the employee in question no longer works there.
However, Harper said she wants community centres to offer more cultural education and awareness programs to their staff.
"I think that there needs to be less victims and everyone needs to learn that racism is wrong," she said Monday.
Harper said her son is still shaken by the incident, and she is now trying to obtain a protection order against the former employee.
"Speaking with my kids about the incident ... I just felt like it's important to protect my son," she said.
Meanwhile, First Nation leaders are calling on Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and his Indigenous Advisory Circle to reinforce the city's respectful environment and anti-discrimination policies, as well as work with community centres on providing indigenous inclusion programs to staff.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak issued a joint news release expressing concern about the incident involving Harper's family, which is from Garden Hill First Nation.
"The citizens of our MKO First Nations use Winnipeg's community centres on a daily basis and the law requires that the centres must provide an environment that is safe and free from discrimination and harassment," MKO Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson said in the release.
Bowman has already announced that diversity training will be mandatory for all City of Winnipeg employees. He made that announcement on Jan. 22, a year after Maclean's magazine called the city the most racist in Canada.
A spokesperson for the mayor's office told CBC News the diversity training will include "an increased focus on the legacy of residential schools."