We all created the Black Lives Matter movement

Dear Editor:

Imagine having to draw a line in the sand, the same one drawn by your ancestors for hundreds of years, where on one side sits equality, justice and freedom, and on the other, your continued oppression.

Imagine having to rely on the basic decency of your fellow human beings to choose for you the side of equality, justice and freedom, with moral apathy the victor every time.

Time has taught us that fair-weather allies and oppressors are one and the same. They walk the same line, and their half measures or no measures tip the balance to deal the same devastating blows.

Placation by accommodation means we have sided with the oppressors. When we allow hatred in its smallest forms to be seated at our table or we remain in its audience, we have sided with the oppressors.

When supremacy rears its ugly head and we fail to sternly remind it of its equal size and place among all things, we have sided with the oppressors.

When our fragility prohibits us from acknowledging the privilege that comes with our white skin, we have sided with the oppressors.

Niceties be damned, Black Lives Matter.

It should come as no surprise that lip service has worn out its welcome.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” We still aren’t listening.

With civil unrest an inevitability, we have lost the right to curse a movement that we forced into existence for being too loud.

Kristin Staley, Kelowna

Right-wing extremism goes unchallenged

Dear Editor:

It is disturbing to read that Canadians promote right-wing extremism in thousands of conversations taking place openly everyday online.

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a British-based think tank, with help from two Toronto academics, released a 46-page report titled “An Online Environmental Scan of Rightwing Extremism in Canada.” It behoves Canadians to read it.

The report identified 6,660 right-wing extremist channels, pages, groups and accounts operating in Canada. The study said “Canadian extremists are third in activity after the U.S. and U.K. and reach audiences of millions of people across the world.”

This includes networks of 6,352 Twitter accounts, 130 public Facebook pages and groups, and 32 YouTube channels.

Full throttle neo-Nazi messaging is found on fringe sites such as 4chan, where administrators do not police what people say.

The report says the most problematic messaging surrounds ethnonationalism and comes from people who rarely promote overt racism, instead they express it covertly. Racism hides in conventional language and using racist dog-whistles is not only a testosterone-fuelled masculine expression, racism is just as likely to wear lipstick and heels.

Large social media companies do screen and catch the obvious, but for-profit companies like Twitter also prove ineffective in tagging racism. When Twitter finally censured two of U.S. President Donald Trump’s racist-tinged tweets, though welcomed, it stopped well short of being effective, because for them Trump is a great revenue stream.

Thankfully, the righteousness of Black Lives Matter now has major advertisers threatening to pull ad-revenue to force better screening.

The volume of activity is shocking and decent Canadians should feel ashamed that we’ve allowed it to go unchallenged for so long. Extreme systemic racism exists in Canada and the best way to successfully fight it is not to remain silent, but call it out loudly and denounce it every time.

Jon Peter Christoff, West Kelowna

Summerland solar project shouldn’t go there

Dear Editor,

Summerland municipal council is on a path to locate its solar project on a piece of property earmarked in the official community plan for future residential growth.

This property, along with the Deer Ridge area, was debated extensively during the 2015 growth strategy process. The council of the day, which includes five of our current council, unanimously voted to include this land in the Urban Growth Area (UGA).

This land mass represents close to 20% of our property base earmarked for growth. Policies for urban growth developed at the time note that “the primary objective of the UGA is to direct residential and commercial growth to central areas … while preserving outlying areas for ... industrial agricultural, forestry, tourism and recreation.”

The fact that a majority of our current council decided to include the west Prairie Valley area in the UGA essentially reserved it for residential and commercial growth. The policy also notes that land uses beyond residential and commercial (solar farm) should be located outside the UGA.

To now propose a solar farm on this site without any amendment to the OCP essentially changes the direction established in 2015 that involved a large contingent of the community.

If council intends to remove this large parcel of land from residential growth for the next 25 plus years, an amendment to the UGA should be completed with the appropriate community consultation.

Only after such an amendment is passed should this project proceed in this location. Otherwise council is unilaterally changing the direction that they themselves wrote into the OCP growth strategy.

Ian McIntosh, Summerland

Summerland’s proposed solar project is in the wrong location

Former Mayor Don Cameron

Former Mayor Tom Johnston

Former Mayor Janine Perrino

ormer Mayor Peter Waterman

Former Mayor David Gregory

Trump’s like your senile old uncle

Dear Editor:

“I think it will just go away”, “99% of COVID-19 cases are not dangerous,” U.S. President Donald Trump opines of the virus.

If your senile old uncle made such

statements, you would just laugh and/or ignore him.

However, the state of the world’s wisdom is such that global attention is paid to Trump’s utterances, no matter how ridiculous.

Joy Lang, Penticton

Email: letters@ok.bc.ca