Editor’s Note: This ‘cri de coeur’ to Madawaska Valley Council from a resident is the latest example of public concern about the conduct and messaging that emanates from Seat of Wisdom College and its linked publications she refers to. The letter was simultaneously submitted to other local media.
I would ask for a commitment from our diverse and multicultural community to stand up against divisions, hateful rhetoric and ‘othering’ of people in our township. Let there be a commitment from our community leadership — council members, business owners, priests and pastors, elders, and every citizen — that xenophobia, hate and divisions are not to be tolerated or platformed, and that as a community we shall signal safety and fairness for all.
Towards this end, we must call out the places where this is currently not happening. From Barry’s Bay’s extreme-right LifeSite News that spreads hatred and xenophobia while celebrating death sentences for queer people, to emails circulating that demonize groups, call harm on the queer community, and spread hate and misinformation about Hasanville and our Muslim bothers and sisters. Let leadership signal that public work that uses dehumanizing language gets called out at Barry’s Bay’s Seat of Wisdom College and Catholic Insight online journal — where outdated xenophobic language and support of war and anti-Indigenous sentiment — is identified. Let there be communal education of the value of all persons, and ongoing accountability in our council, community, and in our homes. May we begin to speak up in our churches, and places of worship, where pastors and priest are held accountable and asked to teach and platform inclusion and acceptance of those who are not in those pews. We all must clearly call out
exclusion, hate, and harmful rhetoric, at all times, in all places here.
We must realize that Madawaska Valley and Barry’s Bay is a place where those who we have not known or connected with — no mayter if they are old timers, new citizens, Polish, Irish, German, Indigenous, BIPOC, Queer, Catholic, Christian, Muslim, young, old, single, divorced, families — that all human persons here have a right to belonging, and deserve inclusion and safety in all parts of our township.
Let peace begin with each one of us, and let us have eyes to see the humanity across every issue. Let empathy begin in each one of us. Let us signal, and create, a community where all are welcome and are safe to exist. Let us be clear that harm has no place here.
Jenny Hayden Baklinski
Rockingham, Madawaska Valley Township
Photo: Chris Robert on unsplash.com