It has come to our attention that materials that are considered a hate crime in Canada have reached some of our affirming congregations this week. We are saddened to note that this is coming during a time when we are preparing to celebrate the arrival of the Christ in our midst.
The hate mail received this week included a letter with disturbing messages and a USB key. It has come from the United States and may have a Customs declaration that it is a “gift.” If you receive mail that you suspect to be this or other hate correspondence, here is what we recommend you do:
- Do not insert the USB key into any of your devices. Curiosity could put your computer and your security at risk.
- Be aware that the letters that we are aware of contained disturbing messages targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. You may choose not to open it.
- Report it
- to your local police, and
- also use the Canada Border Services Agency online form to report it if it has come from outside of Canada: https://bwl-lsf.cbsa-asfc.cloud-nuage.canada.ca/tip-sub-en.html
If the mail meets the description provided above, you can report it as suspicious without opening it and include this newsletter to back up your concerns.
For security reasons, never put any USB key from an unknown or hostile source in your computer, as it could contain viruses or other malicious software that could steal your personal information, could cause harm to your computer and could also spread malware to your contacts. If you received a USB key, please report it to the police and surrender it to them. If you have already put such a USB key into your computer, please remove it immediately and take steps to check for malware before using your computer further.
We understand how distressing opening this mail may be for the staff member or volunteer who did so. It will distress many and be experienced as a personal attack by any who identify with or are family and friends of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
If you receive the above noted package or any other hate mail, please reach out to Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble at email@example.com. Our Communications Coordinator, M, will keep track of these instances, and inform the respective Regional Council. Knowing what is occurring in your local community is helpful so that AUSE can best support you and other congregations across the country. If you would like any information or assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.
Please know that we are with you.
May God bless you and your congregations as you move through this season.
The Affirm United/S’affirmer Ensemble Team