If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die. –Maya Angelou
These thoughts seem to me to echo those spoken over 50 years ago. My website is not intended as a commentary on specific events outside of City business, and so this is not going to be a discussion on specific events happening in the national or international arena.
That being said, I believe it is my place to denounce attitudes and acts of hate and intolerance towards members of my beloved city; and to declare my support, admiration, and love for all Edmontonians. In my life I have been blessed with the opportunity of developing relationships with individuals from all walks of life. I have met people with different upbringings, different beliefs, different languages, and different backgrounds. These relationships have had a profound impact on my life.
The #MakeItAwkward campaign started here in Edmonton. I have bitter-sweet feelings towards this campaign. Bitter, because it is disheartening that this campaign is needed in 2017. Sweet, because this campaign has turned a negative experience into a positive movement for change, and the outpouring of support and gratitude for this movement is incredibly encouraging. There are many people who have not been at the receiving end of intolerance and hate. But there are still many more that have experienced some type of bigotry, sexism, racism, or prejudice of any kind. This is unacceptable.
At City Hall, the Councillors have received emails and phone calls of support for the #MakeItAwkward campaign. What struck me is how prevalent and overt prejudicial acts are.
This is why the #MakeItAwkward campaign is so important. Not because it is a snappy catch-phrase or because it can now trend on Twitter, but because it encourages everyone to call-out others on their intolerance.
I believe that it is my job to represent all Edmontonians. I believe that it is important as a person to stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters of different faiths, cultures, sex, and abilities. I have taken the pledge to: “#MakeItAwkward for anyone who discriminates against someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation, a physical or mental disability, or gender.” I hope that you will too.
To learn more about the #MakeItAwkward campaign, visit makeitawkward.ca.