MONTREAL (CITYNEWS) – A video starring Quebec immigrants on the frontlines of COVID-19 is going viral.
“Those very same people that we call our heroes quite often are those not being valued,” said Fabrice Vil, one of the creators of Je Me Souviendrai video.
“I grew up knowing there are many people that are invisible in society, who contribute, but aren’t valued. My mom has been a nurse my whole life. So that’s something that motivated me.”
In the video frontline workers read a poem written by Fabrice Vil entitled “Je Me Souviendrai” – a play on the official motto of Quebec. It means: “I Will Remember”. Vil compares fears of COVID-19 to fears of immigration, described as a foreign threat that takes jobs.
“There is a switch where fear becomes love,” he said. “Where the same people that we could fear are the very same people contributing as essential workers and they are in the video saying: ‘I am here with you, in solidarity.'”
Ismail Seck is a high school teacher featured in the video. He recently made headlines after Benoît Dutrizac, a prominent French Quebec host, attacked him on Twitter.
Seck tweeted: “I hope Quebecers will remember the refugees putting their lives in danger to save our seniors in long term care.”
Dutrizac responded: “Your comment is insulting to the people who welcomed you. F OFF”.
Seck, who was born in Quebec, says dealing with racism is hard.
“I’m a Quebecer,” he said. “But people see me as a stranger and treat me very harshly and I’m not the only one in that case.”
He has since made complaints against Dutrizac and says the xenophobia is what encouraged him to participate in the video.
“We’re all together in this and we need to work together,” Seck explained. “Racism and xenophobia is just a threat to solidarity and working together.”
Je Me Souviendrai was inspired by a similar video made in the UK, called You Clap for Me Now.
“Je Me Souviendrai is really about making sure that the love we show these people right now isn’t forgotten,” said Vil. “That it remains when we have decisions to make politically.”
The entire video can be viewed here.