District 2 Com. Jennifer Wyness apologizes for drawing parallels between BLM and freedom rallies
District 2 Com. Jennifer Wyness has issued an apology for equating the Black Lives Matter movement with freedom rallies.
Wyness had suggested on Twitter that the city council should take a multi-stakeholder dialogue approach to try to resolve ongoing disputes between organizers of the weekly Beltline rallies and neighborhood residents and business owners.
In her March 14 Twitter feed, the councilwoman said the public hearing would be “similar to what was offered to BLM protesters.”
The Council held a two-day public hearing in July 2020 on the issue of systemic racism in Calgary. Participants in the hearing, which was held by videoconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had time to share their experiences with injustice and trauma in the city and also to suggest ways to improve inclusiveness.
Wyness expressed regret for the parallels between the Freedom Rally and the BLM in a statement released Wednesday evening.
“I would like to acknowledge the impact of my tweets on Monday and apologize to the BIPOC communities of Calgary. My intention was not to create a comparison between the ongoing Beltline ‘freedom’ rallies with the protests against the racism that took place during the summer of 2020.”
The Ward 2 councilor adds that she “unreservedly denounces all forms of racism, discrimination, prejudice and white supremacy”.
Wyness says she remains focused on working with community members to “find ways to resolve the conflict in the Beltline” and identify “a safe path for the council to diffuse the frustrations that fuel the conflict of our streets”.
Many Beltline residents have expressed frustration with the noise and traffic problems that come with the weekly protests.
Tempers flared last weekend when a group of opponents of the rally gathered along a section of 17th Avenue SW, aiming to block the freedom march. The two sides clashed, with CPS members standing between the groups, for more than an hour before officers forcibly dispersed the small group, with some police using the handlebars of their mountain bikes as a battering ram .