OPINION: Embrace difference

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The year is 2021.

We live in and around what was historically the terminus of the Underground Railroad, where black slaves fleeing the U.S. South were given land and welcomed with open arms.

We have two First Nations on or within our borders.

Migrant workers from around the globe come here annually to work.

So why do we need to drive home the message that “Hate Has No Home Here?”

Christy Obalek and Rick Gardiner of Planet Print are the drivers behind the signage and the movement to discourage hatred and encourage inclusivity.

It’s sad that such an effort is even needed these days.

So what if someone has a different skin colour?

Big deal if a friend tells you they are gay.

Someone follows a religion that is different from yours? Good for them.

To stretch the “Hate Has No Home Here” mindset a little further, if someone opts to not get the COVID-19 vaccine, don’t hate them. If you feel it’s best to not hang out in close quarters with them, fine. Don’t hate.

Respect their decisions. Just as people who are against vaccinations should respect yours. There is no global conspiracy at work here; no implant of chips to track your movements (your cellphone will do just fine, thanks).

Hate is generally brewed out of ignorance; a lack of understanding of someone else’s culture, lifestyle or physical or mental state.

The best way to cure yourself of the potential for hatred is to be informed. Research what it would be like to be in the other person’s shoes.

Don’t just rely on what others tell you or what you may have heard from fringe groups.

Don’t selectively quote historical religious tomes – be it the Bible or the Qur’an – without examining the overall messages of peace and inclusion.

We should embrace our differences. Welcome individuality.

Yes, the pandemic has separated and segregated us for long stretches. We’ve had to hang close to our immediate families. But now, we can stretch our legs somewhat, mingle while respecting social distancing and get back to interacting with others face to face.

Take the time to examine the faces around you and realize just how wonderfully different we all are.

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