Racist graffiti in Lakeshore 'disappointing' for community members
'We need to face up to the fact that there is racism...right here in Windsor-Essex,' says one resident
Lakeshore resident Camille Armour was "frustrated" and "angry" when she saw a friend had shared a photo to Facebook of the N-word graffitied on a path near her home that she frequently walks.
"We've been faced with a lot, with the pandemic and then with racial tensions and just the idea that someone decided it was a good idea to post that word, it was just very frustrating and disappointing," Armour said.
The racist word was found on a path near St. William Catholic Elementary School on Monday morning and was reported to the Ontario Provincial Police, according to local resident and former Essex NDP Member of Parliament Tracey Ramsey.
The incident comes after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe.
Essex OPP Const. Jim Root said via email that the incident was reported and is being investigated by police.
The force is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them.
Ramsey had tweeted out a picture of the graffiti Monday evening and said she's "not having it."
She then continued to ask what others in her community will do to fight against anti-Black racism.
"Immediately when I saw it, I was shaken by what I was seeing," Ramsey said, adding that it's "completely unacceptable."
She said she instantly reached out to Lakeshore's Deputy Mayor Tracey Bailey and Ward 4 Coun. John Kerr and let them know that "this needs to be taken care of immediately."
The graffiti has now been covered up, though it doesn't appear to be the municipality's doing, Ramsey said. The graffiti has been scribbled over and replaced with "BLM," which stands for Black Lives Matter.
Armour said when she informed Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain about the incident, he apologized to her.
"He was taken aback that it had happened," Armour said, adding that when others in the community found out, many reached out to offer support.
The Town of Lakeshore released a statement Wednesday saying that a team was sent out Tuesday to blend the slur, including the "BLM" that was placed above it, into the pavement.
"We do need to face up to the fact that there is racism here in Canada, here in southwestern Ontario, right here in Windsor-Essex," she said.
Armour continued to say that with awareness, along with getting people informed and educated, there will be an "outward intolerance for this sort of thing."
For Ramsey, the issue shows that Lakeshore needs to do more.
She said there needs to be policies and practices put in place so that if an incident like this occurs again, it will be quickly resolved.
Ramsey said city council should condemn the act, look at any gaps in the town's anti-racism policies and enforce a "zero tolerance policy around [racism] in Lakeshore."
"Looking for those policies and how we can challenge systemic racism in our town is incredibly important," she said.