‘We feel those injustices’: Rally held in Edmonton after deaths of 2 black men in U.S.

Posted November 21st, 2018 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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Approximately 200 people gathered in Edmonton on Friday night to protest the recent killings of black men in the United States.

The Stop Killing Us rally was held at Centennial Square and was organized by a group called Finding the Antidote for Injustice and Racism.

READ MORE: Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son weeps during his mother’s emotional speech

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The event included a vigil for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile followed by poetry, music and messages from speakers.

Sterling was killed early Tuesday morning by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. while Castile was killed in his car early Thursday morning in Falcon Heights, Minn. also by a police officer.

READ MORE: Philando Castile’s girlfriend speaks out after fatal shooting, says police ‘took his life for no reason’

“The black community is grieving. Their community of allies is grieving. We need a place for mourning. We need a place to come together with our community,” co-organizer Kassia Haynes said.

“We feel pain even if it’s not just in our city. We feel those injustices even if they’re not here. I think we see ourselves and Edmonton reflected in what’s happening in the rest of the world.”

READ MORE: Police officer blasts ‘racist’ colleagues after Alton Sterling’s death

Edmonton-Centre MLA David Shepherd attended the rally. He said, as an elected official, he felt it was important to be on hand to hear from fellow Edmontonians about their experiences with racism to make sure they know their voices are being heard.

“This is an important public conversation. I think a lot of the difficulties and issues that we have with systemic racism and other things happen because these aren’t conversations that are being had openly and honestly,” Shepherd said.

The MLA admits he grew up “pretty privileged” and apart from a few incidents in high school, said he hasn’t felt like he’s been targeted because of the colour of his skin. But he also knows that it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

“As I’ve been reading and learning and listening about the black experience in the U.S. and parts of Canada and even sometimes here in Edmonton, I’ve come to realize it’s a difficult thing.

“There’s issues of systemic racism and there are things that we need to be able to talk about openly as a society to be able to address them.”

Haynes said it is devastating that situations where people of colour are killed by police are still happening. She helped organize a similar rally in 2014 after 18-year-old Mike Brown was killed by a police officer.

“It’s dehumanizing that we keep seeing the same narrative play out over and over and over again without feeling that anything is changing,” she said.

Haynes said some members of Edmonton’s black community still encounter racism and racial profiling.

“We can’t get lost in this being an American issue. This is a Canadian issue as well.”

She said organizers plan to ask the City of Edmonton to have more transparency and dialogue with the city’s black community.

Attendee Staci Layne-Linton said it was “amazing” to see so many people of different races, ethnicities and ages at the event.

“It makes me feel like…the whole city is coming together. As a city, we are standing here,” she said.

“I think as a community to come together – it isn’t an us and them – we are all one. We are all united as one. We all bleed the same colour red.”

With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News. 

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