In order to highlight the International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Val d’Or Native Friendship Centre is inviting the population to participate in the Gabriel Commanda Walk as a sign of friendship among nations, under the theme “In Val d’Or, there is no place for racism.”
For the third consecutive year, the Friendship Centre is organizing its blitz for the singing of the “Declaration of Friendship among Nations” by visiting the town’s businesses. This will take place from March 17th to March 20th. In 2001, about 160 business people signed the declarations, 230 signed in 2002 and the objective for 2003 is 250 signatures.
Edith Cloutier, executive director of the Native Friendship centre explains, “We go to all the different businesses in town, and we have the business community get involved by co-signing a peace declaration that says that we collectively contribute in denouncing any form of racism.”
The signature and display of the poster in the business’ window represents a commitment in the effort to end racism in Val d’Or. “Everywhere for one week in Val d’Or, that poster is visible. The public in general, no matter where they go, keep seeing that poster.” said Cloutier.
On March 21st, the whole community is invited to participate in a short walk to show their commitment in ending racial discrimination. A special invitation is made to the schools and the youth. Departure will take place at the Friendship Centre, 1272, 7th Street at 1:30 p.m. The walk will go as far as the Town Hall and then return to the Friendship Centre where coffee will be offered.
Cloutier hopes that this years turnout is a little bigger than last years, “It’s growing in numbers, the first year there were 100 people who participated, last year, there were roughly 250, this year I think it should be over 300.”
The activities surrounding March 21st represent a wonderful occasion to become better acquainted with neighboring communities who still have the opportunity to truly exchange.
On March 21st, and during the “Action Week against Racism in Val d’Or” make a personal commitment to declare that there is no place for racism in our town by displaying the Declaration of Friendship and by participating in the walk.