For the past few weeks, you may have noticed a social media campaign involving picture frames. If you haven't, check out the March 21 Eliminate Racism page or #diveristyBrooks on Twitter. The campaign all led up to the main event, a Unity Walk, on March 21.
That date marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Locally, March 21 events have been ongoing for the last few years as a result of a partnership with Brooks & County Immigration Services, the Francophone Society of Brooks, the City of Brooks and the Brooks Public Library.
"It is a day to rid our community of ALL forms of discrimination," said March 21 Committee Organizer Heather Kazimir before the walk. "The reason we're all here today, is because we all know the right thing is to end discrimination."
Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt also walked with the group, and credited the community on its diversity and acceptance thereof.
"Most small, urban centres like this do not enjoy the kind of diversity that Brooks has," he said.
Brooks Mayor, Barry Morishita, also reflected on how Brooks is an example where people unite and prosper - no matter what their ethnic roots.
"We have changed so much in the last 15-20 years," he said. "But the amazing thing is that we can walk up and down our streets and see the people that live here appreciate the diversity of our community."
He added that the "City of 100 Hellos" has been an example for the rest of the province, and the entire country.
"This can happen all over the world, because it's been successful here," Morishita said.
County of Newell Reeve Molly Douglass - a longtime rural resident and former educator at the Bassano School - expressed how pleased she is to call our area "home."
"I'm extremely proud to live in our Newell/Brooks community," she said, adding "it's a wonderful community."
BCIS Service Manager Mohammed Idriss brought another view, noting how sometimes the focus is on the negative aspect of discrimination.
"I think we should somehow have this day officially proclaimed as a Celebration Day," he said, expanding that it would be "a Diversity Celebration Day where we all represent our community and celebrate the diversity we have."
The walk began at the Brooks Public Library, stopped briefly at City Hall for a group photo, then traveled north on 1st St., turning onto 2nd St., and ending at the Brooks Junior High School. A police escort was provided as the group made their way through the downtown core.
For more images from the walk, click here. Be sure to check out our video below to see the walk, and hear the dignitaries speak.