Local human rights activist keynote speaker at anti-racism presentation
When he was first asked to participate in an anti-racism event, Clive Ansley was skeptical about the notion that U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is enabling “latent racists” to come out of the woodwork.
But after hearing some troubling post-election stories, the Courtenay lawyer agreed to be the keynote speaker at a community dialogue dubbed Rule out Racism, hosted by the Comox Valley Multicultural Society Jan. 21 at North Island College.
“What the people who approached me were saying is that it’s been almost like permission. That, ‘If the president of the United States can make racist remarks, then why can’t I?’” said Ansley, a human rights activist and former professor of Chinese history, Chinese law and maritime law.
One tipping point was an incident on a Toronto subway train where a Caucasian man attacked a black man. Luckily, commuters were able to tackle the offender and kick him off the train.
“The guy was chanting ‘go Trump, go Trump’ at the time he was doing it,” Ansley said, noting another incident at a Colorado high school where a Latino girl was verbally assaulted by a so-called friend the day after the U.S. election.
Locally, Ansley knows of people in interracial marriages who have suffered racist remarks — some laced with Trump references.
“I was initially skeptical about the idea that he (Trump) was giving permission for racists to come out of their cracks and holes,” Ansley said. “I didn’t buy it at the beginning, but then I’m told by a number of people in this community who’ve been here a lot longer than I have that in fact it is happening. And that there are people who have never given up these ideas and are now finding it legitimized. So I’ve agreed to talk on my experience of it in other places and at other times.”
Along with Ansley, guest speakers include Community Justice Centre (CJC) chief administrator Bruce Curtis, CJC president Andy Stringfellow, residential school survivor Verna Flanders and high school student Fabian Heinrich.
The dialogue will be held at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Saturday, Jan. 21. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.