A virtual panel discussion on COVID-19 and racism will take place this Friday, featuring three local speakers.
The panel is being organized by a new group, which says COVID-19 and racism should both be considered pandemics, each disproportionately affecting Canadian communities of colour.
Motion of Colour was founded this summer and calls itself a youth-centred and student-led group focusing on discussions of racial equality.
The group, in partnership with Kamloops Immigrant Services, was founded by Joy Kwak and Mary Falade, two university students attending school on opposite ends of the country — Kwak at McGlll and Falade at UBC — but both of whom call Kamloops home and have family locally.
"Because we've lived here for 10 years or so, we know there aren't that many resources available, outside of school," Kwak told KTW. "So, we wanted to create a space where youth of colour, and people not of colour, can come together to discuss racial equality."
Panelists include Bill Sundhu, a lawyer and former judge who has has worked in Canadian and International human rights law, Les Carty, a community activist who spoke about his experience with police at a Black Lives Matter rally in June, and Elaine Alec, a local First Nations author who just released a book on her childhood experiences of abuse, racism and alcoholism and her path to healing.
Falade and Kwak will moderate the panel, guiding questions and allowing for a Q&A session from the virtual audience.
Kwak said it's easy to show support on social media, but showing up for events such as the panel discussion is another way to show solidarity and learn how two major issues of the day intersect.
"We wanted to show that racism is all-permeating. It affects every aspect of your life. It can also affect how you're impacted by COVID-19, whether it's economically or the chances of you dying from it, that there is a disproportionate effect," Kwak said.
The discussion will take place via Zoom call on Friday, Sept. 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.