On a bitter cold day, a diverse group of Peterborough people across all spectrums brought a warm message. The event was called Chalk Out Hate and it is part of a solidarity weekend that is chock full of events. The events were organized by community members in response to an “Anti-Immigration Rally” organized by Kevin Goudreau [Little Kev], a man who sports a swastika tattoo on his chest.
The message from Brandi, high school student and member of Amnesty International at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School was simple: “be a decent person to everyone, don’t hate people.”
She thought that using chalk to paint the streets with messages of positivity was an effective way to fight white supremacy in Peterborough because “it’s colorful and happy, and that small and little things could make a big difference.”
“We did this because we don’t want people to think we are a town filled with racists” said Jeff Bergeron, who organized the high school students to chalk positive messages at Confederation Square. Despite Little Kev’s protest being denied by City Council, due to insufficient paperwork, Bergeron wanted to remind people that “just because he’s not allowed to come does not mean that racism has been solved.”
Community Organizer Alissa Paxton thought that events like this are important because “ignoring bullies and racists will not make them go away… we have to speak up against hate.”
“We want to be a community that stops the spread of hate” said Charmaine Magumbe, Chair of the Community Race Relations Committee. Charmaine feared that there might be more of Goudreau and his ilk to come in the future “if we do not stand up against white supremacy as a community, it will attract people of like minds…and they will think peterborough is a soft community.”
Photos by Berfin Aksoy