News / Edmonton

'It trickles into Alberta': Hate to Hope more urgent in wake of white supremacist rally

The event takes place on August 19 and will include speakers addressing issues affecting minorities in Edmonton.

Chevi Rabbit says an assault she experienced in 2012 helped lead her to start Hate to Hope, a rally to empower others who have victimized.

Omar Mosleh / Metro Order this photo

Chevi Rabbit says an assault she experienced in 2012 helped lead her to start Hate to Hope, a rally to empower others who have victimized.

Chevi Rabbit was walking to Safeway to grab food in 2012 when a transphobic assault permanently shifted her view of the world.

Three men started yelling homophobic slurs at her. It escalated to a physical confrontation, during which Rabbit says she was thrown to the ground and had her iPhone stolen.

But rather than identify as a victim, she decided to use her voice to empower others by starting a rally focused on fighting the “rising tide of hate consuming our nation”.

Now in its sixth year, she says Hate to Hope has taken on new urgency, given the deadly rally over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA., that saw a man drive through a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one. Rabbit, a two-spirited transgender woman, said her event celebrates diversity, social justice and inclusivity.

“It makes me feel horrible that there’s so much going on and we have this spokesperson and people are turning a blind eye to his behaviour,” she said, referring to President Donald Trump.

“It trickles into Alberta.”

The event this weekend will feature speakers addressing a wide range of issues that affect Indigenous, LGBTQ, Muslim and homeless people, as well as other community advocates opposed to hate.

Among them are Manwar Khan, an Edmontonian who became an anti-bullying advocate after witnessing a death while riding the LRT, and Jesse Lipscombe, who joined forces with the city to launch the #MakeItAwkward initiative after men yelled ethnic slurs at him for being black.

Rabbit said she could have focused on her own Indigenous community, but recognized that minorities from across the board share similar experiences.

“I’d rather have every single group and recognize that each one in their own way has been victimized. And they’re using it as a positive force.”

This year, Hate to Hope will be raising money for The Mustard Seed’s various homeless and poverty alleviation initiatives. People can text HOPE to 30333 to donate $10 to the cause.

Though her rally was inspired by a violent incident, Rabbit doesn't dwell on it.

“I don’t accept these negative narratives. I’d rather have a narrative where I can thrive. And if it doesn’t exist I’ll create it.”

Hate to Hope takes place at the Alberta Legislature on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. 

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