Community leaders are stepping in to tackle racism in the Cowichan Valley after a widely publicized fight between Cowichan Secondary School students earlier this week brought accusations of bigotry bubbling to the surface.
Chief William Seymour of Cowichan Tribes, Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure, and Board of Education Chair Candace Spilsbury got together to talk, after the inter-racial fight near Cowichan Secondary this Monday.
By Wednesday afternoon, the four were meeting to talk about the situation and its causes.
The “right-now” action includes school-based sessions aimed at helping students develop a strong sense of social responsibility.
“These sessions will involve Elders and prominent community members, will take place prior to winter break, and will continue throughout schools and the community in the new year. The work will be supported by local community agencies, the school district, and Cowichan Tribes staff,” the statement said.
The four leaders spoke firmly.
“We do not want racism to define our community,” they said, adding that solutions must come collectively.
But, “individuals also have a role to play in creating tolerant and inclusive communities, and that starts with choosing to treat each other with kindness and understanding. We have come a long way, but we still have work to do,” they said.
Further, on Thursday morning Cowichan Secondary School posted the following statement on its Facebook page:
“IT IS OVER!
Noah and Logan asked us to take this picture. After the fight, these two boys sorted it out. They want people to know that they are team-mates on our rugby team and they are good with each other. For Noah and Logan, this was not about race. It is over.”