'An opportunity for conversation': New Hamburg church opens diversity dialogue

A New Hamburg church is hoping some lawn signs will start a conversation about diversity in Wilmot Township.

The signs read: “We value diversity. Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. People of colour matter.”

They were first created in Listowel and have now started popping up on lawns in New Hamburg after members of St. George’s Anglican Church agreed to help sell them.

“Sometimes it can be difficult to actually voice it in a conversation with people, but to have the signs there, maybe opens an opportunity for a conversation,” said Reverend Margaret Walker with St. George’s Anglican Church.

Local residents Steven Martin and Karen Partridge have set up one of the signs on their front lawn and say they hope as people roll into town they see a communitythat is inclusive.

“We’re white, but want to be allies and show that everyone is welcome here,” said Martin. “I want to learn and do whatever I can to promote diversity and inclusion.”

The signs come at a time that Walker says has been contentious, as the town has recently faced some controversy around the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, as well as the circulation of White Lives Matter posters.

“The more we talk about it the easier it will become and the more we learn, the easier it will become for everyone and be better for the BIPOC community,” said Walker.

Wilmot Township councillor Angie Hallman says she is happy to see the signs popping up and is hopeful they will promote education.

“We’re finding the white privilege that exists and we’re finding out the work that we need to do to progress our community to be more inclusive,” said Hallman.

Anyone wishing to buy a sign can contact St. George’s Anglican Church for details.