Just one day after at least a dozen disturbing posters were spotted on the University of Alberta campus, political and cultural leaders along with Canadians in general are rallying behind the Sikh community. MPs condemn ‘racist’ posters at University of Alberta A censored version of the poster found at the University of Alberta Monday, Sept. […]
Just one day after at least a dozen disturbing posters were spotted on the University of Alberta campus, political and cultural leaders along with Canadians in general are rallying behind the Sikh community.
MPs condemn ‘racist’ posters at University of Alberta
A censored version of the poster found at the University of Alberta Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. University of Alberta removes ‘disturbing racist posters’ from campus
A racist incident in downtown Edmonton and quickly spread on social media, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. Racist incident in downtown Edmonton caught on camera
“We’ve seen a huge outpouring of support from the community, the U of A community and the ethnic community at large,” Arundeep Singh Sandhu, a spokesperson for the World Sikh Organization, said on Tuesday. “Even the prime minister has come out against it, the mayor, as well as of course everyday Edmontonians and Canadians have come out against it.
“We’ve also seen a huge response from the Sikh community and the Punjabi community of Edmonton.”
Once the university became aware of the posters, they were taken down. At least 12 posters were removed
“When it first happened and when we first saw it on Facebook, the reaction was shock and surprise, disappointment and a little bit of anger,” Sandhu said. “But, you know, dealing with views like that with anger doesn’t really get you very far.”
“The name ‘Sikh’ actually means ‘to learn’ in Punjabi. A Sikh is a student,” he explained. “So, I thought the best response to this would be education.”
An event to respond to the posters is being planned for next Tuesday, tentatively at the University of Alberta campus between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“The people who put up these posters gave their views and their side of the argument and we’re going to give our counterpoint,” Sandhu said. “We’re going to be wrapping turbans on students at the U of A. While this is happening, they’ll be able to ask questions.”
Free books will also be available that explain more about Sikh history in Canada and the significance of the turban.
“I’m a big believer in freedom of speech. It’s up to the university to decide if that’s hate speech. Police are investigating as well,” Sandhu said. “But for me, it’s how we put our views forward … fight it with education and give people an opportunity to make a decision for themselves of which vision of Canada they prefer.”
To this Harjit Singh Sajjan tweeted, “Proud to be Canadian, proud of my service to Canada, proud of my turban.”
and he was replied by Justin Trudeau, “and we’re proud of the enormous contributions Sikhs make to this country every day.
The response of the university community has been remarkable. They have reached out to our Sikh community, in particular. They have reached out to other minorities on campus and made them feel welcome and celebrated the cultural diversity that the University of Alberta is known for.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of the community on campus, the way they’ve reached out to others and supported them during this time.”
Turpin is also looking forward to Tuesday’s event.
“There will be some events coming up in celebration of diversity, there will be a turban tie-in where people learn about Sikh culture and how to tie a turban. There’s an opportunity here to reach out and educate each other about cultural diversity,” he said. “It’s something we celebrate.”