Hundreds of people gather at Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Aaliyah Williams, 5, holds up a sign in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, during a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Paige Harrison, one of the organizers of Kelowna’s Black Lives Matter rally, speaks to the crowd of protesters on June 5, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Protesters gather in Kelowna’s Stuart Park on June 5, 2020, for a Black Lives Matter rally. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Hundreds of people are gathering in Stuart Park for a rally in support of the black community in Kelowna.

Organized by two black women Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira, the rally is meant to be peaceful and bring light to the ongoing protests in the U.S.

The protests started last week after an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died in Minnesota police custody. Some protests have turned into violent riots.

Harrison and Pereira emphasized Friday’s event is a peaceful protest and all they want is to give people a chance to have an open conversation about people of colour’s experiences.

Harrison took to the mic at the beginning of the rally to thank residents for attending.

“I really appreciate all the support. I know there was a little bit of controversy (earlier), but I’m so glad that we stuck with the root of this peaceful protest, and that is to unite and not to divide,” she said.

The “controversy” she was speaking about was the displeasure of some local black and Indigenous groups in Kelowna who said they do not support the event.

Hearth, an association of black and Indigenous women, posted they didn’t support the rally because “it was founded without the consultation, consent, or leadership of the larger black community in the Okanagan and also the First Nations who govern these territories.”

Despite the backlash, Pereira and Harrison said they were very grateful for the support and the turnout.

“I couldn’t ask for a better turnout. We had a few people this morning trying to sabotage us, but this (turnout) is amazing. I honestly cannot find the words,” Pereira said.

“This is more than us. This is more than a protest. This is changing people’s lives.”

They said they can’t give specifics as to what triggered the backlash.

“It could be a couple of reasons, but we don’t want to insinuate anything… the only thing I can say, and speaking on behalf of Kermisha, is that we really wish that they were all here and supporting,” Harrison said.

“They would’ve been a part of it just as much as anybody else would’ve been.”

While many of those who are gathered in Stuart Park are wearing masks, the recommended six-feet of social distancing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, is not being adhered to by all due to the number of people in the area.

READ MORE: Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

READ MORE: ‘It’s in the looks people give’: Kelowna women use shared experiences to combat racism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

protestracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Family key to 60 years of marriage for Vernon couple

Syd and Emily Smith were married July 16, 1960, at the young ages of 18 and 19

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Add a little Spritz and Cider to your summer

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

Rare comet NEOWISE and aurora lights captured in Okanagan

The image was captured over Big Horn Lake near Kelowna with a Pixel 4XL android phone

Vernon Search and Rescue aids injured rail trail cyclist

Group’s Utility Terrain Vehicle proving to be a valuable asset on the popular trail

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

‘Resistance’ from Interior Health puts races in Penticton on hold

It’s unknown if races planned for this weekend at the Penticton Speedway will take place

Fundraiser kick-started for Vernon woman battling tongue cancer

Woman’s four-year-old twins are the driving force behind her fight

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Vancouver Island RCMP respond to reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Most Read