Leagues and residents reject hate and discrimination
A Sept. 29 confrontation between a group with alleged connections to far-right groups and a group who opposed them ended peacefully, though residents and community leagues want to send a message about diversity in the community.
Rebecca Lippiatt, a local photographer, says, “I felt very strongly that this is my neighbourhood and that I don’t accept groups like that in my neighbourhood.”
She saw a post on a Facebook group that the alleged “patriots” were meeting in the parking lot at 118 Avenue and 82 Street. “When I got there shortly after, there was a short scuffle.”
A man from the alleged “patriot” group called a Black man the N word, who then punched the man in response.
“Police broke it up immediately,” says Lippiatt.
The two men talked with the help of the police, and the group dispersed shortly after. “We couldn’t figure out why [the group] was there except to harass people. There’s lots of diversity in the area, lots of people of colour. I didn’t want those people to feel alone in the situation.”
She adds: “I went because I could not stand by and let Indigenous and Black people in our neighbourhood think that they are not wanted. Our neighbourhood is beautifully multicultural, which is valuable and important and I wanted my neighbours to know they are supported.”
Lippiatt says she was glad police were there and that they did well in de-escalating the situation. “You could tell they didn’t agree with what was being said, but they mostly wanted everyone to go home.”
Area community leagues released a joint statement in response to the event, emphasizing the importance of a safe, inclusive, and diverse community.
“We do not believe that racist or fascist views should have any place in a civil, democratic society, and condemn those who seek to conflate their racist or fascist views with patriotism. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths as a community,” says Alberta Avenue past-president Brendan Van Alstine.
“Yesterday in honour of Orange Shirt day in Edmonton, our community gathered to raise the Treaty 6 flag. Because of the white supremacy rally in our neighbourhood, we contacted EPS over security concerns for the attendees at our event. We will not tolerate racism in our community,” adds Steve Townsend, president of Parkdale-Cromdale Community League.
“Eastwood Community League not only supports but celebrates the diversity in our community. We emphatically reject any form of racism, discrimination or hate speech. We encourage inclusivity, and believe it is the diversity that makes us more effective in our mission,” concludes Donna Yateman, Eastwood Community League president.
“I’m super proud of our community for standing up. I was really pleased that our community leagues spoke up so strongly against this type of group in our neighbourhood,” says Lippiatt.
Featured Image: The Sept. 29 confrontation ended peacefully. | Rebecca Lippiatt