Hate crime unit investigating anti-interracial marriage posters circulating in Ontario's Waterloo Region
KITCHENER -- Flyers condemning interracial marriage have been circulating in Ontario's Waterloo Region, and police say their hate crime unit is getting involved.
A photo of one of the flyers surfaced on social media earlier this week after they were reportedly mailed to people living around Wilfrid Laurier University.
They show a photo at the top of a white woman and a Black man smiling for the camera, but the text below alleges "negative consequences" of interracial marriage.
Cambridge residents Heather and Russel Preddie say that, while they don't deal with this sort of response to their relationship very often, it's not something new to them after being together for decades.
"It is hurtful, but you're taught very young that this will happen. You also taught yourself that you can expect it, that you have to have a certain response to it," Russel said.
"None of it is true, and I think that this person is either very ignorant or just trying to inflame people in this day and age," Heather told CTV.
Still, the couple said that the flyers are alarming because someone took action on their feelings.
"What the person is saying in that letter is, 'I hate you.' In short terms, it's: 'I hate you and I'm willing to do something about it,'" Russel said.
"That's why it's disturbing, because not only do they hate you, but they will do something about it."
In a response online, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said he had forwarded the posters to police, and asked for anyone who received one of them to come forward so that footage from security cameras nearby can be reviewed.
"There is no place for this kind of hateful and hurtful propaganda in our community or any community for that matter," he said in part.
"It makes me sad and angry that this kind of anti-Black racism is not only prevalent, but is being widely shared."
Vrbanovic said he had forwarded the posters to police, and asked for anyone who received one of them to come forward so that footage from security cameras nearby can be reviewed.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service said it is "aware of the flyers."
"Investigators and analysts with our General Detectives and Hate Crime units are investigating to determine the circumstances surrounding this incident, including identifying those responsible for disseminating the flyers," a spokesperson for the police told CTV in an email.
According to Canada Post, the flyers appear to have been delivered in stamped envelopes and sent as letter mail from a street letter box.
"By sending it in this manner, there would be no indication to Canada Post of the content," a statement from Canada Post read in part.
"Had this item been deposited at our facilities as a direct mail piece, where we could view the flyer, it would have been reviewed and assessed before any further steps were taken."
Canada Post said it is working with local law enforcement to support the investigation.
The flyers were distributed amid a growing movement to end anti-Black racism following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed in Minneapolis, after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
In Kitchener, thousands of people attended a Black Lives Matter march following Floyd's death, calling for an end to anti-Black racism and police brutality.
In a follow-up statement, police said they aren't yet sure how many of the flyers have been circulated.
They're asking anyone who has received one to contact them and to "limit their handling of the flyer to preserve any possible forensic evidence such as fingerprints."