Activist Chevi Rabbit returned to Red Deer College bringing the From Hate to Hope campaign on Tuesday.
The former RDC student, who is openly gay and is now transitioning to become a woman, was attacked in Edmonton in 2012 while walking to a grocery near the University of Alberta. It changed Rabbit’s life.
Rabbit, who identifies as gender neutral, said the assault was earth shattering.
“It was very heartbreaking, and I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Rabbit prior to speaking before about 20 people at RDC.
“My sense of identity all came tumbling down. The feedback I got from other people’s perspectives, I didn’t realize there was so much hate going on within Alberta. I lived in Ponoka and had a great experience there. Here in Red Deer it was a great experience.”
Rabbit took time off from school to deal with anxiety and founded From Hate to Hope in Edmonton.
“That’s when I realized there’s lot of people who suffer in silence. I wanted to create some kind of entity as a voice for change. That’s what From Hate to Hope is about,” said Rabbit who came to RDC to tell the story and encourage people to help create safe and inclusive communities.
Rabbit said Canada will experience some ripple effects from the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. and that’s why it’s important to have events like the one at RDC to remind people that Canada is different than the U.S. Canadians respect, or at least tolerate, one another.
“It’s really up to community leaders, politicians, people like me, you, all of us here to make sure that hate doesn’t come to the surface in Canada and Alberta.”