Working toward a just society for all Edmontonians

Photo credits to S. Tse, T. Gonzalez, and W. Lau.

Edmonton is a great city, and I am proud to call it home, but it saddens me to know that people experience inequity here every single day.

I often reflect on the unjust experiences that have been shared with me, that I have witnessed, and that I have personally lived through.

In just the past few months, I have… 

… shared in the collective grief of the Muslim community about the everyday harassment faced by Muslim women,,

… heard my colleagues’ stories about working with Syrian refugees and their families who face countless barriers to adjusting to life in Edmonton while suffering from PTSD,

… listened to the worries of small business owners who are struggling to make ends meet because the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated their livelihoods, 

… watched reports of Indigenous communities being hit hard by COVID-19, while continuing to fight for their basic rights to clean water and more,

… seen single mothers, pregnant women, or people living with COVID-19 who are unable to simply pick up a load of groceries,

…and I’ve learned of people who are out of work due to the pandemic and do not know how to redirect their skills or where to turn for help because it’s the first time they have had to access EI. 

On a personal level, I have been struggling with the disturbing surge of anti-Asian hate in North America and am keenly aware of the often invisible discrimination all around me. 

It is overwhelming sometimes, but I know we can do better. We can and must work towards a just society.

“We just keep our head down and work. If I stop, it’s too depressing [to think about how COVID-19 is impacting our business].” – Small Business Owner, Ward Karhiio

In a just society, we have the agency, resources, and networks to reach our full potential, on our own terms, regardless of our skin colour, gender, income, profession, age, or sexual orientation. 

To get there, we must set a common goal of equity as we break down silos and connect across sectors — governments, community organizers, neighbourhood groups, agencies, and business associations must come together in this work. 

We must acknowledge our differences while recognizing what we have in common. By building understanding we can lift each other up. 

In light of the rising violence against the Asian community and the harassment against Muslim women in Edmonton, I recently joined efforts with a group of diverse community leaders to organize the Bridges Against Hate rally. In spite of our differences, or perhaps because of our differences, we were able to come together and work towards a common goal of fighting against racism, discrimination, and hate. When one of us is hurting, we all hurt. This experience has become a beacon of hope for me. As your City Councillor, I will hold equity and a just society as a central value in all that I do. I will make it a priority to understand the social challenges that lead to inequity and to find solutions that lift up all Edmontonians.