Steinbach has a reputation for being extremely conservative when it comes to social issues. As a result I was very interested in how a Black Lives Matter rally and march would proceed. I went last night (June 8, 2020) The first people I saw were a group of very conservative Mennonites. They are probably from the most conservative group in the area. I wondered what their point of view would be. To my pleasant surprise they were obviously supportive of the cause and consented graciously to me photographing them. I thought they might object to photographs, but they did not. In fact later I noticed they had their own photographer. I guess they are not as conservative as I presumed. Presumptions are bad as I have been preaching. Me bad (again).
I also noticed a black family who were comfortably seated with their signs. They also eagerly agreed to let me photograph them. There were quite a few black people at the rally. I did not know we had that many black families in town. Once more, I was sadly ignorant. But at least I was here to learn. I wanted to learn and support.
A number of the speakers were young people. In fact almost all the speakers were young people. Some of them gave very emotional speeches that made it clear, as if it was not clear before, that racism lives in Steinbach.
I did not notice any of our political leaders. Our Mayor, our Member of Parliament, and our member of the Legislative Assembly were all not in attendance (as far as I could tell). If I am wrong and one of them was in attendance I hope someone corrects me. All 3 were eagerly in attendance at a grand opening of a fast food chicken restaurant a week or so ago where they participated without benefit of social distancing. Somehow the opening of a fast food restaurant was more important than a rally in support of racial justice.
I did not participate in the march because the crowd which had been fairly well spread out during the speech was bunching up for the march. It did not look safe to me so I went home. After all, I am an old man who lives with an old woman. So I have to be careful I don’t bring home any diseases. It might be our last.
All in all I was pleased with the event and the fairly large crowd that attended. Perhaps Steinbach is not as conservatives as I thought. As Bob Dylan, sang, ‘The times they are a-changing.’ Even in Steinbach, black lives matter.