Hundreds of people in Campbell River gathered in peaceful demonstrations to shine the light on racism right here in our own backyard.
It was all part of a Black Lives Matter event in the city on Saturday.
Similar events were also held in Port Alberni and Courtenay.
“It makes us feel so bad emotionally,” said Campbell River resident Caroline Bleaney, who is from Nigeria and has experienced racism. “Sometimes I go home and just put my head down and I just cry.”
Speakers took turns to address the crowd in Campbell River with personal stories meant to enlighten and inspire.
Chantal Moore was also remembered at the rally. The indigenous 26-year-old who was born in Tofino and grew up in Port Alberni was shot and killed by police earlier this week in Edmunston, N.B. during a welfare check call. The Edmundston Police Force has claimed she threatened an officer, but an independent agency is now investigating the incident.
The gathering then marched through part of downtown to spread their message.
“You know I teared up a few times, people sharing their stories,” said rally organizer Taylor Ellis. “It just shows how terrible people of colour are being treated and it needs to change.”
“I think it should be important to everyone, especially people who are able to come out and feel safe and use our voices to amplify this important cause,” said Gina Nickloff who attended the rally.
The movement has gained significant traction since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer May 25.
“People get upset, you know these masks are they bothering your face? Well, think about us. We can’t breathe half the God damned time,” said Campbell River resident Lakeshia Jackson, who is of Haitian descent.
Her sister, Camisha, says she can’t bring herself to watch the video of Floyd’s death.
“It’s like watching a family member die and I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I was so upset and distraught and even thinking about it now it’s emotional.