After UVic Pride received reports of white supremacy posters taped up in Victoria, roughly 50 people joined a peaceful counter-poster creation.
Alexis Masur, who works with UVic Pride, said someone sent them two photos of posters using white-supremacy rhetoric. Each shows a white woman, with overlaying text reading: “The beauty of the European woman must be preserved.” One was found at Cook Street and Yates, while the other was in North Park.
So Masur decided to organize a peaceful gathering where people could make their own posters in response.
On Nov. 12, armed with colourful markers, around 50 people met in Centennial Square. The new posters they created shared messages such as “Spread love”, “Neo-Nazis not welcome!” and “Love for everyone.”
“People are feeling quite hopeless and not sure what they can do anymore,” Masur said. “We’re trying to say that even though the politics around this are getting quite intimidating, there are still people out there who want to create change and fight against the rising number of white supremacists within Victoria.”
Once their message was down on paper, the group walked to where one of the original posters was found. On their way to North Park and back, the group was led by a woman beating a drum and singing.
One woman who attended the event said she wanted to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people, “especially because I’m a settler and it’s my responsibility to do that.” Brandon Dennis, whose poster read “Neo-Nazies not welcome!” said he wanted to show white supremacy is not OK on Vancouver Island.
“Maybe for people who have racist views or Islamophobic views, they may see [the posters] and it may make them want to keep that to themselves and realize this isn’t the type of city you can do that in,” Masur said.
Billy Yu, who also helped with the event, said they weren’t surprised when they heard about the white supremacy posters found in Victoria.
“There are more and more folks who feel like it’s OK to be more bold about their connections or beliefs around white supremacy and whiteness. I think it was a cowardice act. I’m glad there are folks who want to come together and remind not just the city or the larger population, but just remind each other that that isn’t OK in our neighbourhoods,” Yu said.
“I think people have a choice every day to choose care and compassion over hatred, bigotry and prejudice.”