Opinion

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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

There is always a risk that calling out hate gives it publicity and causes the haters to line up and sign up. We have decided it is time to take that risk.

We are going to post information about some symbols of hate that have shown up in our community in the past months like weeds after a few days of rain.

The fact that you may not notice them, or understand the message, is irrelevant to those who post them. They are recruiting the like-minded, make no mistake. These people are making our community unsafe for your neighbours, because for some it is always more than words.

Watch for these. Call them by their name. Report them. Remove their signs (for safety, don't use your bare fingers ).  Ask your representatives to act. Tell your community organizations not to allow these groups to “launder” themselves by charitable acts.

OKtobewhite“It's okay to be white”. Originally designed to bait media and academia, it has spread across three continents.

Iron cross with White Pride - A German military medal adapted by the Nazis, now used by neo-Naziswhitepridesmall

RaHoWa – Racial Holy War

88- " One of the most common white supremacist symbols, 88 is used throughout the rahowaentire white supremacist movement, not just neo-Nazis. It a white supremacist numerical code for "Heil Hitler”.

1488 -  is the combination of two common white supremacist numeric symbols: 1) 14 (shorthand for the "14 Words"boundforglory slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children") and 2) 88 (standing for "Heil Hitler").

Bound for Glory - The name of a longstanding white power music band (dating back to 1989) from Minneapolis, popular among white supremacists. Symbol is the hammer of Thor.

sooSoldiers of Odin, having been banned from Facebook, still have a page for the local chapter under the name “Support Grey Bruce”. The profile picture is the Soldiers of Odin Canada logo, and the banner asks “Thinking of joining? Send us a message and ask how.” The Facebook page has a photo of them in their logoed shirts, showing them as good community citizens raising money for the local women's shelters, and placing a wreath at the Hanover Remembrance Day ceremony. They have also posted a story about the Soldiers of Odin from CBC which was followed up by a response from the Royal Canadian Legion, and a rejection by Alberta's United Conservative Party.

None of this is unique to our community. Other places in Canada are  debating the issues and discussing the impact and response.

City staff are removing reported stickers. Mayor Ian Boddy responded , "Racism is not acceptable in our community. We want everyone to feel safe and part of our community. Many citizens have worked hard to make Owen Sound a welcoming community for all. These stickers are unacceptable. I encourage everyone to be vigilant and watch for these stickers and let the Police know when and where they are observed."

The Owen Sound Hub is following up with our local police, elected provincial and federal officials, and BGOS candidates for October's federal election, and will report on their responses.

It is time to talk about this.

Thanks to those who supplied images and links.


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