Sandi Boucher – I share messages of hope

Sandi Boucher Dancing on the Wall
Sandi Boucher Aboriginal Heritage
Sandi Boucher

THUNDER BAY – Editorial – I share messages of hope and encouragement, of faith and empowerment.  I care about you and I want the best for you but at the same time I want what’s best for me too, which is why this note.

Of late I have been enjoying the company of a man of non-Aboriginal descent (the first bit of info highly uninteresting to you, the latter irrelevant to me, but both are essential to this story so please bare with me).  Because he is the supportive and caring sort he shared my latest video on his wall, an action that resulted in one of his “friends” emailing him a message that was laced with racist comments and slurs.

This man I know has class and is a man of action so he immediately deleted the so-called “friend,” events that he relayed to me over lunch.

Why do I share?

Because some naively do not believe racism exists in this city.  They would be wrong.

Because I am the most empowered, positive person I know … yet this attack (and yes, that IS what it feels like) has troubled me since I was informed of the event. 

If such an event rocks ME to my very core, leaving me with an overwhelming urge to just curl up in a ball and hide, how can the youth that come here protect themselves?  Or the young Mom just trying to get her child safely on the bus?  Or the young man just trying to make his way in the world, to hang on to his self-pride in spite of the onslaught of racism he faces every time he walks out the door?

Like me, my partner takes lessons from every day events.  He took this event as a reminder that he must be vocal in his distaste of such behavior, that he can’t simply stay silent because it wasn’t aimed at him. That he must speak up because it goes against his definition of respectful behavior and it can’t be condoned.  I love that about him.

As for me, I take this as a reminder of just how badly racism does hurt, no matter the race or the age of the victim.  I am 48 and I am wise and experienced and knowledgeable and it still hurts … more than I would care to admit. 

It is not something I can “just get over” or something I can “just forget” so please, save me the comments.

Further, it is a reminder that there is much work left to be done in this beautiful city of ours, so that it is beautiful for everyone … including me.

So to my friends, thank you for being you, for seeing past race, and sexual orientation, past educational achievements and financial status to embrace people for what they are … people.

And to those that have an issue with Indians or First Nations peoples, or Metis, or Aboriginal or people of any other race – GET OFF MY FRIEND’S LIST AND OUT OF MY CITY!  Make room for those that truly want to work together to make this the best city in the world because I deserve that, and my children and my grandson deserve that and no matter what … I am not curling up in a ball and going away.

Sandi Boucher

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