Anti-racism rallies take to the streets of Vancouver Island

An anti-racism rally took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
An anti-racism rally, led by organizer Vaness Sjo, took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
An anti-racism rally took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
An anti-racism rally took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
An anti-racism rally took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
An anti-racism rally took to the streets of downtown Victoria Monday, June 1, in solidarity with movements taking place across the U.S. and Canada. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)

Vancouver Islanders are adding their voices to the cries against racial inequality across Canada and the United States.

Protests against racism and police brutality have been taking place in cities all over North America since the May 25 death of a black man — George Floyd — at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A small group gathered in Millstone Park in Port Alberni on Monday afternoon (June 1) in a demonstration against racism. The event, which was organized by Marilyn Bueckert and Seva Dhaliwal, was a peaceful protest. Although only a few people joined in, many cars honked in support as they drove past.

“Some people have asked why I’m doing this,” said Bueckert on Monday. “I’m hoping it will make people think. We want to keep this peaceful and get people to think about how racism hurts.”

“The issue going on in America is upsetting,” added Dhaliwal. “We shall protest and let people know we will not stand by until justice is served to George Floyd and his family.”

This protest took place the day after a small demonstration in Bamfield.

A Port Alberni teacher is also organizing a Peaceful Drive By Protest on Thursday, June 4 in order to follow social distancing guidelines.

“As a teacher I teach my kids to voice their concerns, to communicate their feelings – peacefully,” Joy Couttenier posted on Facebook. “Let’s do a PEACEFUL drive by protest against racial discrimination!”

Signs of solidarity were also clutched on street corners in downtown Victoria Monday afternoon.

Part of an anti-racism rally that started at Centennial Square, a group marched to B.C. Legislature at approximately 5 p.m. with a vigil planned for 7 p.m.

Vanessa Sjo said she felt compelled to organize the event after George Floyd was killed in the United States, sparking mass protests, not just in the U.S. but around the world. “We’re wanting our voices to be heard. We don’t want to have any anger or violence or whatnot, it’s kind of keeping the peace and standing in solidarity with each other.”

— with a file from Katherine Engqvist

ALSO READ: George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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