A small group of protestors line up along the highway in front of the Vernon courthouse to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

‘Racism is real,’ says Vernon Black Lives Matter protester

Handful of demonstrators take to court steps in solidarity with BLM movement

Around 10 protesters lined up beside the highway in front of the courthouse at noon on Wednesday, garnering honks of support from passing vehicles.

Among them was Sarah Gabriel.

As a black woman, she said greater awareness of racism is needed in the local area.

“For me, racism is real. It’s happened to me many times,” she said, holding a sign that read “I am a child of God, let me breathe.”

“It’s not just to black people,” she added. “I have many friends and they go through the same thing.”

Gabriel said what’s lacking in the local area is an awareness of the subtler acts of racism, committed unconsciously.

“People can be racist without knowing it, so it’s good to have awareness so people know that the little things they say or do, it’s still racism, and it’s time for this to stop.”

Ilona Davidson said she organized the June 10 rally because she couldn’t stay silent anymore.

“I just felt I had to do something,” the 25-year-old said.

As a person with Indigenous heritage, Davidson said racism exists in Canada and can no longer be ignored.

“Race crimes happen everywhere,” she said. “It’s not just the U.S.”

“I feel now, more than ever, we need to come together instead of falling apart,” she said.

Last week, around 15 protesters took their raised fists and signs to Polson Park Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m.

Organized by teens Celina Galbraith, 18, and Zada Varney, 17, protesters chanted, “I can’t breathe,” as cars honked their horns in support along Highway 97.

The duo isn’t a part of any organization, rather the issue seen across headlines and social media pushed them to take up the cause on a local level.

“Canada is not superior,” Varney said, in comparison to the United States.

“Police brutality is still a thing,” Galbraith said.

Varney and Galbraith, both Caucasian, said it is important to stand and show support for all.

“We as ‘white people’ will never understand what it’s like,” Varney said. “But waking up every day thinking this could be your last simply because of your colour in a society that doesn’t accept you is not OK.”

In response to a passing motorist shouting “All lives matter!” the young activists said: “Not all lives matter until black lives matter.”

The same day, nearly 600 people rallied in Stuart Park in Kelowna.

Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Kamloops and Vancouver.

READ MORE: Vernon protesters take BLM movement to Polson Park

READ MORE: ‘I just felt I had to do something’: Vernon Black Lives Matter protest organizer


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

racism

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

Just Posted

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Vernon business restores faith in humanity for houseboat fire victims

Community kindness leaves out-of-province father in tears of appreciation

WATCH: Lavington man chains himself to tree as crews clear space for child care centre

Crews began work clearing space for a new facility Thursday, Aug. 6

Rogers initiative ‘Step Up to the Plate’ to help Central Okanagan Food Banks

The initiative will deliver food hampers that will provide more than 1,343,000 meals for local food banks

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

Most Read