Columns: Airing dirty laundry

Everyone has some dirty laundry that needs washing every now and then.

Everyone has some dirty laundry that needs washing every now and then. That is the thinking behind the Dirty Laundry campaign, a new anti-racism initiative started by the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo-Chilcotin branch.

This campaign has started a discussion in Williams Lake about how we can best combat racism, promote multiculturalism, and create a more inclusive society for all.

The Dirty Laundry campaign came about after the Cariboo-Chilcotin branch received a grant of $10,000 from the provincial government to go toward anti-racism initiatives in our region.

The campaign has sought to end racism in our community by educating people about its causes, including unfair stereotyping of other cultures. More importantly, the campaign engages organizations and members in our community in a conversation about what actions we can take to make Williams Lake a more accepting, tolerant place.

As part of the Dirty Laundry campaign, anti-racism posters and displays will be set up at public and private buildings around Williams Lake. There will also be displays of T-shirts that carry words and slogans to highlight various aspects of racism, in an effort to encourage conversation about how we can cleanse our society of this “dirty laundry.”

The Dirty Laundry campaign already has the support of School District 27, Thompson Rivers University, Cariboo Regional District, the City of Williams Lake, the Cariboo Friendship Society and many other organizations in our community. I’m also very proud that the Williams Lake Tribune has taken up the anti-racism cause and is publishing a feature story about combating racism every two weeks.

Racism ultimately hurts us all – it is a corrosive element in our society, adding unnecessary costs to our classrooms, workplaces and economy. It is up to all of us to take a unified community approach to combat racism, and make Williams Lake a better place for all to live.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.