Manitoba

Winnipeg city councillor 'deeply disturbed' after receiving racist letter

The letter shows regressive thinking about race issues and social justice movements, says St. Norbert-Seine River Coun. Markus Chambers, adding that it's shocking that some people still think like this. 

Coun. Markus Chambers says letter shows regressive thinking about race, social issues

Police board chair Coun. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River) said he was deeply disturbed by a racist letter he received to his council office Friday. (CBC)

The chair of Winnipeg's police board says he's sickened by a racist letter he received in mail. 

St. Norbert-Seine River Coun. Markus Chambers said it was late afternoon Friday when one of his staff members opened the letter at City Hall. 

A copy of the letter sent to CBC News says in part: "why did you come here if... you knew this was a white colonized nation." 

The profanity-laden letter goes on to make many false, racist statements and includes a picture of a hand giving the middle finger. 

"I was deeply disturbed by it that someone would take the time to download a picture like that and to take the time to type it out and send it through mail to me," Chambers said. 

At one point the letter also argues that there is no need for protests against racism, or for movements like Black Lives Matter, and says such protests didn't happen in the past. 

The letter shows regressive thinking about race issues and social justice movements, Chambers said, adding that it's shocking that some people still think like this. 

"Obviously this did happen 30, 40, 50 years ago. The [1965] marches in Selma, Ala., the [1963] marches in Washington — these were all movements that were done to bring rights to Black individuals that never before experienced rights," he said. 

He pointed out that the social justice movements of today are fighting for those same rights. 

"So to say that 30, 40, 50 years ago everything was perfect and all of a sudden now people are calling for their rights, this is part of our history," he said. 

"It's shocking and upsetting that in 2020 that we're no further ahead than we were 30, 40, 50 years ago."

While he's seen many racist comments on social media, Chambers said he's never received a physical letter like the one he got Friday. 

Mayor Brian Bowman said he was also sickened by the letter, saying it was "a disgusting act of hate."

"There is no place for this kind of hate in our city," he said via email.


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.

(CBC)

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