SURREY (NEWS 1130) — At least four musical performers won’t be playing their hits at Surrey’s virtual Canada Day celebration after withdrawing in support of a petition calling for the city to join others in committing to anti-racism.
Mother Mother, The Beaches, and Said The Whale all tweeted on Thursday that they will no longer be participating in the July 1 event, while Daniel Wesley posted the same on his Facebook page.
“We’ve been made aware that city leaders have not yet joined the world in a commitment to dismantling systemic racism. We are proud to join those voices who have already called for Surrey’s leaders to speak up,” say The Beaches.
There are two bands that say they won't be involved in the @CityofSurrey's virtual celebrations on #CanadaDay. Both Mother Mother & The Beaches say they want the city to commit to a dialogue on racism, in light of a petition. We've reached out to the city for comment. pic.twitter.com/Gcthwqe0lQ
— Ria Renouf (@riarenouf) June 18, 2020
According to the tweet, only Mother, Mother’s lead singer, Ryan Guldemond, was to perform on Canada Day.
“It’s been brought to our attention that despite a petition from the community with over 3,000 signatures, the City of Surrey’s leaders have not publicly committed to dismantling racism and have been unwilling to engage in a dialogue with the organizers of the petition.”
Wesley said he was excited about the upcoming performance in Surrey.
“Since committing to the event, it’s been brought to my attention that the City of Surrey has yet to make an appropriately strong public commitment against racism. That is disappointing. We need everyone onside in the fight against racism, and our elected leaders should be the first to stand up and speak out,” he says on Facebook.
Said The Whale withdrew from the event and signed the petition.
According to the change.org petition, titled “#SurreyStandUp: Dismantle Anti-Black Racism,” Surrey has the largest Black population in B.C. It says 60 per cent of Surrey residents are Black, Indigenous and people of colour.
“Currently, we’re in the midst of the largest civil rights movement of our generation. Unlike many other Canadian cities this past week (Vancouver, Richmond, Toronto), our hometown of Surrey has yet to make a public statement committing to anti-racism in our city,” says the petition, started by Ezeadi Patrick U Onukwulu, CEO and Artistic Director of AHFOMAD Festival.
The petition asks the City of Surrey to show solidarity and make a public statement committing to anti-racism in the city:
- acknowledge that anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism exists in the city;
- acknowledge that civic institutions have tacitly perpetuated systematic racism;
- clarify what percentage of the executive leadership of the city is diverse, and how that can change;
- commit to actively dismantling systemic racism, discrimination, and intolerance from our systems;
- commit to a policy ensuring that Surrey is an inclusive and equitable place for Black and Indigenous and POC communities.
“These are not just American issues. Racism and bigotry affect our communities right here at home — every day,” says the petition.