DRYDEN – The Dryden Area Anti Racism Network has issued an open letter to Senator Lynn Beyak.
Here is the text of that letter
Dear Senator Beyak,
On behalf of the Dryden Area Anti Racism Network we are writing to you today to invite you to meet with DAARN, attend some of our events, and learn about the work we are doing here in the Dryden area.
We are very concerned by your recent comments about racism, in which you stated: “In my view, there is no racism in Canada.” DAARN was created to address the very real effects of racism in our community, which we have witnessed firsthand.
We are also troubled by some of the letters you have chosen to publish on your website denying the history and ongoing impacts of the residential school system, and promoting untrue and hurtful stereotypes about Indigenous people. Through DAARN’s programming, we have learned that the trauma of family separation, abuse and the loss of cultural identity are deeply felt by many survivors and intergenerational survivors in our region.
DAARN has always been an education-based initiative, rather than a politically motivated organization. Our primary focus has always been to bring people together to learn about each other in a safe and respectful environment. We facilitate community events that provide opportunities and spaces for individuals to share and educate through their own stories. This allows our community to hear voices that may otherwise not be heard, thus promoting respect and better understanding of each other.
Through our community events we have been privileged to hear the stories of many people who have experienced the traumatic effects of racism, including residential school survivors, survivors of the 60s scoop and individuals personally impacted by the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
It is a true privilege when members of our community choose to share their stories with us. We at DAARN encourage you to join us to experience some of these stories firsthand, to understand the ongoing impact of the residential school system and racism in our community.
We know that there are many Canadians who do not understand or dismiss the history of the residential school system and who downplay the ongoing impacts of racism in our society. Dryden Area Anti Racism Network believes that loud and angry denouncements do little to promote understanding or respect and can cause positions to harden, making reconciliation more difficult. We believe the only way to change those beliefs is through dialogue.
As a reconciliation-focused organization, we would like to engage you in our ongoing community dialogue by inviting you to take part in our community events, meet with our members and hear for yourself how your constituents have been impacted by the legacy of residential schools and racism. We urge you to approach this opportunity for dialogue and feel that it would be a gesture of good faith on your part to remove the letters that we, and many others, find hurtful from your website.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Board of Directors
The Dryden Area Anti Racism Network