As we all watched the outpouring of emotion flooding the streets in the U.S., and as thousands protested around the world, on Saturday, June 4 Spirit Square in downtown Campbell River, B.C. flowed with the same outcry of injustice for George Floyd. This was a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter and for the memory of George Floyd, but here in Campbell River, the protest became much more to many people who shared their stories of racism and injustice.
Close to 300 people gathered peacefully to kneel and share stories and memories of systemic racism that still exists in policing, education, our health care system and everyday lives of the marginalized and repressed citizens of our society.
Rich and Joanne from the Campbell River chapter brought the Council of Canadians banner and Joanne’s sign was also about wanting justice for Chantelle: an Indigenous woman who was shot five times by police officers here in Canada. Other Council members present held up posters in support of a movement that has been long overdue. Sandy from the Campbell River chapter spoke about her friend who died due to racism and about her Godparents from Jamaica.
There were other moving speeches from Black women and from those in Indigenous and LGBTQ2 and disabled communities, along with white expats from the U.S. All the speeches were emotional reminders of the hard work that our governments and organizations and each and every individual must do to address racism, bias and discrimination against the most marginalized citizens of our society.
Let’s be clear that racism exists in every level of our society and until we have a country that treats everyone equally, we cannot rest!
Written and submitted by Sandy Weames and Rich Hagensen from the Council of Canadians’ Campbell River Chapter.