(Aniah) Chism, a black student in High River, said “as a black girl growing up in an all-white community,” she knows “all-too-well what it’s like to be different.”
“I know what it means to represent ‘diversity,’” she said, explaining she is the only black member in her family and workplace, and one of three black students in her entire school.
“This reality emphasizes the crucial role I play as a symbol of diversity in every aspect of my life. Yet I refuse to be sidelined. I am vocal, proud, and dedicated to advocating for inclusivity and unity.”
Chism said she “deeply believes in treating the LGBTQ community as equals,” and the importance of “celebrating differences.”
However, she said she appeared before the council to “offer a different perspective,” one rooted in her “personal experiences.”
She quoted Morgan Freeman when asked about combating racism: “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”
“To me, Freeman’s words extend beyond race, into becoming a life practical life motto. We should embrace his approach in our daily lives, and see each other as individuals first, beyond our labels,” continued Chism.
“This applies to all people and everyone. When I look at our town crosswalks, I don’t see them as needing to change to reflect one identity or another. I don’t need a crosswalk designated as black or LGBTQ.”
“To me a crosswalk is a crosswalk. Everyone should feel welcome whoever they are.”
“Creating a Pride crosswalk may cause us to be more divided than coming together as a community.”

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