I want to sincerely apologize to readers, especially Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, who were offended, insulted or hurt in any way by the cartoon that appeared in last week’s Advertiser.
Many have asked the valid question of how it made it to print, but there is no satisfactory explanation. I failed to look at this cartoon from the perspective of the oppressed, racialized and marginalized members of the community, and for that I am truly sorry, particularly given the events that have transpired over the last several weeks in the U.S., in Canada and across the world.
I too watched in horror one month ago as George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers. It sickens me to think some readers would suspect that I, or any of the dozens of Advertiser employees, would purposely mock such an outrageous tragedy or the subsequent, and long overdue, movement that has spread across the globe.
This newspaper has made a concerted effort in recent years, and particularly over the last few months, to be more inclusive in its coverage.
It saddens all of us here to think that this incident has negated those efforts in the eyes of some readers, but that is now the reality. We hear you. We know we have more work to do. And we’re dedicated, now more than ever, to putting in that work.
As journalists, we are tasked with many vital responsibilities, perhaps none as important as calling out injustice on behalf of those who do not have a voice or those whose voices have for centuries been ignored – or maimed or killed into silence – by those in power.
There is no place in this newspaper for images or words that hurt those very members of our community.
I want to personally thank those who submitted emotional and thoughtful letters and comments, some of which are included on our letters page this week (in the newspaper, there is no cartoon and columnist Kelly Waterhouse volunteered to give up her regular space to make more room for residents to have their say).
We have and will continue to reach out to leaders of the local Black Lives Matter movement and other People of Colour in the community to work on ways to move forward in a constructive manner. I want to be clear that this week’s apology is but the beginning of an ongoing effort to, as many readers have simply and aptly put it, do better.
Rest assured, we will not let this lapse in judgment, egregious as it was, define us or the communities we serve. It’s not who we are.
We will continue to speak out against racism in all its forms and to cover important stories with an eye towards inclusion and justice for all members of our community.