Thousands of Victorians expected to rally in support of Black Lives Matter
VICTORIA -- Victoria's Centennial Square is filled with messages of solidarity, written in chalk, all in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. This weekend, the square is expected to be filled with thousands of people for a peaceful rally against racial injustice.
"Now is the time. Now is the time to step up," said activist, Pamphinette Buisa. "This is the call to action."
Organizers are inviting the City of Victoria to join them in a peaceful demonstration starting at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Following the rally, there will be a vigil held for George Floyd, who was killed by a former Minneapolis police officer.
Organizers say Centennial Square has been picked as the location because it is in the heart of the city and often plays host to a number of cultural and arts festivals.
"We are trying to take up space, and we want everyone to join – whether you're Black or white – we are just trying to take up space together in a peaceful manner," said Buisa.
While organizers say that racism isn't new, rallying against it during a pandemic is.
People who attend the event are being asked to stay six feet away from people outside of their social groups. Volunteers will be monitoring for social distance and handing out free masks and gloves.
Organizers say that mental health services will also be available.
Vanessa Simon, an activist and event organizer, says she was inspired by the demonstrations taking place in Vancouver and decided to organize something to spark change in Victoria.
"Black voices are often not heard, and Black female voices are often not heard, and for my entire life my voice has never been heard," said Simon.
"The goal is to have our community experience the Black culture, and experience what we go through on a daily basis," she said.
People are being asked to wear black clothing, as a sign of solidarity, or white clothing to symbolize peace.
This weekend's event follows a peaceful march that took place on June 1, which saw demonstrators march from Centennial Square to the lawns of B.C.’s legislature.