'Whites only' children's playgroup sign raises concerns in Port Coquitlam

'Whites only' playgroup

Port Coquitlam's mayor says there is no place for racism in his city in response to a social media post about a sign advertising a "white's only" playgroup for kids.

"This vile garbage isn't welcome in our community, or anywhere else," wrote Brad West on X, the social media outlet formerly known as Twitter.

West said city bylaw officers went out immediately to remove the sign advertising the playgroup after hearing about it but couldn't find any signs.

"As soon as it was brought to our attention, Bylaw officers immediately searched the area & all bus stops, but no signs were present. Perhaps being removed by someone else."

According to a social media post by Black Vancouver on Sunday, Sept. 24, a sign advertising a "white's only" playgroup was spotted at a bus stop at 2627 Shaughnessy St., which is close to city hall.

The post on Instagram has generated multiple comments and news stories in other media.

The sign asks people interested in the group to contact them via an email and a Telegram account.

Screenshots of the WhitesTri-CitiesParentsandTots Telegram chat, posted by Black Vancouver, show that those interested in the group are asked to make their profile anonymous and to not reveal their phone number.

"Hello everybody, we are encouraged by the response already and hope you can hang in there until we are all comfortable going in person," the screenshot states.

The Tri-City News has reached out to the group but has yet to receive a response.

Under B.C.'s Human Rights Code, a person can't be discriminated against for race, ancestry, colour, and place of origin.

Anti-racism initiatives in the Tri-Cities

The furor caused by the sign comes as the school district responsible for schools in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody has hired a district orincipal of diversity and anti racism and multiple schools have taken part in anti-racism events in the last school year, with more to come.

In an update, School District 43 (SD43) noted in its most recent agenda that the new principle's job will be to support SD43's anti-racism action plan, including raising awareness, collaborative change, capacity building and school support.

In 2020, Port Coquitlam established a Roundtable on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to promote awareness and help the city establish an anti-racism policy.

The City of Coquitlam also has an Equity Diversity and Inclusion policy and program which "aims to break down barriers to ensure that everyone – regardless of race, age, ability, culture, gender, sexual orientation and other diversity characteristics – is able to live, work and thrive in a safe and welcoming environment."

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