Campbell Riverites are planning a silent protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement this weekend.
The event will be held at Spirit Square on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. The organizers are planning a silent protest to show solidarity with Black people and people of colour who have been silenced due to systemic racism in the United States and in Canada.
“We’re going to stay silent as long as black people are being silenced,” said Taylor Ellis, one of the organizers of the event. She added that they’re planning the event “to show we support the movements down there and also to remind people that Canada isn’t innocent, and this is happening here too.”
On May 25, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in Minneapolis after a white police officer was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. An autopsy concluded that Floyd’s death was a homicide. Derek Chauvin, then an officer with the Minneapolis Police, was charged in connection with Floyd’s death. Floyd’s death was only one of many that have occurred in similar fashions in the last few years, prompting protests and riots across the United States and around the world.
Ellis is organizing the Campbell River event to show that people are not willing to tolerate racism.
“Racism is a problem in both Canada and in the U.S., and in Canada we’re just kind of brushing it under the rug,” Ellis said. “It’s easier to just look at the States and what’s going on down there and say that ‘Canada’s not that bad.’ I feel like we need to shed light on how it’s also happening here. We can’t ignore it and say it’s not that bad here. It is and we need to bring justice to the people who have been murdered for the colour of their skin.”
Though no official record exists in Canada about the number of people killed in police encounters, a CBC database shows that Indigenous and Black people are disproportionately affected by police violence.
The protest will be made while following social distancing protocols. Weather permitting, chalk circles will be drawn to ensure people stay two metres apart. Organizers are asking people to wear masks as well to ensure the safety of all participants.
“We’re going to make some extra signs, but we probably won’t make enough for everyone, so make your own sign if you want to have one,” Ellis said.
A Facebook event has been started with more information.