A group gathered at the University of Alberta for a “turban tie-in” intended to demonstrate solidarity against racist posters that recently appeared on campus.
The “Turban Eh” event, organized by students at the University of Alberta, allowed people to “get their turban tied” and learn about Sikh culture, days after anti-immigration posters with the words “non-integrative” and “invasion” over a picture of a man in a turban appeared on the school’s campus.
“I couldn’t believe that we had people at the U of A who would resort to messaging like that,” Fahim Rahman, president of the University of Alberta’s students’ union, told CTV Edmonton.
Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark said he was sick to his stomach when he saw the posters around campus and decided to attend the event to show his support.
“This is who we are as Canadians, we come together,” said Clark, who had a blue turban tied on his head.
According to Arundeep Singh Sandhu, who helped organize the event, it’s important that the campus show racism does not dominate the school.
“Right now we’re putting forward our vision of Canada and I feel confident saying I think our vision is a little more popular than theirs,” said Singh Sandhu.
Local actor Jesse Lipscombe also attended the event, getting a blue turban tied on his head. Lipscombe confronted a person who yelled a racial slur at him as he was filming a commercial earlier this month, in an incident that was caught on video. His experience helped to start “Make It Awkward,” an online campaign aimed at addressing racism, sexism, bigotry and homophobia, by encouraging people to intervene rather than standing idly by.
“You know something gross happens when you have the power to turn it into something amazing,” said Lipscombe.
According to David Turpin, president of the University of Alberta, the turban-tying event was an opportunity for not just members of the University of Alberta but all Canadians to stand up and say, “This is unacceptable; we’re a welcoming inclusive society.”
The investigation into the posters and who put them up is still ongoing.
With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Susan Amerongen