If our continent were not already in enough pain, the death of George Floyd on May 25th, has opened more old wounds and divided factions more deeply across the US, and here in Canada. While we all share in the horror at the news of the murder of a black man at the hands of a white police officer, our individual reactions are doubtless very different, impacted by our experiences with racism– or lack of that experience. I cannot begin to claim to know what this news feels like to each of you, but I am deeply saddened to imagine that impact, particularly for those of you who have been attacked, insulted or threatened—perhaps repeatedly—by people in a position of power, because of the colour of your skin.
Windmill celebrates the diversity of our staff, just as we celebrate our unity of mission and passion for helping others succeed. I’m sure I’m not alone in that one of the things I have loved most about this job is the chance to get to know the world through such diverse eyes, by hearing Musenga’s stories of his childhood in Zambia, Paula’s early years in Colombia, Joyce’s in Mauritius and Hosai’s stories from Afghanistan, to name only a few. While Windmill is small and the world’s problems seem overwhelmingly large during times like these, our Windmill family is itself a reason for hope. As a charity, from our board chair all the way through our board, staff, clients and volunteers, we exist to help reduce inequities and injustices. We do it hand-in-hand with dear friends and colleagues of all colours, and in doing so we set an example for others.
Thank you for enriching my life with your diversity of backgrounds, and for your dedication to the task of helping Canada embrace the diversity of our immigrants. Each week, it seems like there is a new reason to see our work as crucial and timely, and Mr. Floyd’s murder just the latest reminder of why Windmill is needed. We all have lots of work ahead and a role to play in Canada’s improvement. Thank you for keeping good courage in these dark times.