An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WE NEED SOMETHING right now to reassure ourselves that the human race is capable of getting along. Something symbolic but meaningful, a reminder day by day to focus on the good in us and to reject what’s not good.
B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin may have hit upon it with her Different Together Pledge. It’s a self-call to action. Dr. Bonnie Henry took it at her briefing yesterday. Premier John Horgan has taken it. Many others are joining each day.
Austin has made the cause of diversity and reconciliation a priority since she was sworn in two years ago. Her newly announced pledge is especially relevant in the backdrop to the racial strife of the past several days.
She is inviting each of us to nominate five people to take the pledge. But what if we were to go beyond personal statements and make the pledge a collective movement?
Instead of opening public events — when eventually we return to some normalcy in that regard — with prayers, why don’t we open them with the Different Together Pledge? Instead of MLAs reading from the Bible at the Legislature, or City councils beginning their meetings with inspirational excerpts from authors, make the Pledge a standard practice.
Make it part of what we do at sporting events, school days, and Sunday dinners at home. Maybe it would make us all think more deeply about the need to reject racism.
I’m going to take that pledge, right now. It goes like this:
“Our B.C. is inclusive and respects people of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths and their contributions to our collective well-being.
“Our B.C. holds diversity as a fundamental value at the heart of the success, strength and resilience of our communities, workplaces, schools, public and private institutions.”
“I pledge to uphold and promote these values and I commit to speaking up to oppose racism and hate in all its forms.”
That’s a pledge we should all uphold.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.