Listen Live

HomeNewsCranbrook residents demonstrate against racial injustice

Cranbrook residents demonstrate against racial injustice

Despite rainy conditions, approximately 250 people gathered in downtown Cranbrook with masks, signs, and an intent to show solidarity with demonstrations being held around the world intended to draw attention to racial inequality locally and abroad.

Demonstrations began at Cranbrook’s downtown clock tower on Friday afternoon, but the crowd grew too large for the venue, and attendees moved over to Rotary Park.

“We honestly didn’t expect a turnout like this, we expected about 50 people and that was reaching for it,” said Michelle Chan, one of the event’s hosts. “The fact that our community has shown up and shown their support, and were peaceful and so loving, it touched my heart.”

The person that initially brought the idea of a demonstration to Cranbrook via a Facebook post said she did not expect such a strong showing of support.

- Advertisement -

“I thought it was appalling that we have such blatant racism in our community and no one was doing anything to raise awareness to it, especially with what’s going on in the U.S. and all over the world,” said Abbygail Ruzic. “When I first posted about it, I didn’t think I was going to get any support, I thought I was going to get laughed out of Cranbrook, but it’s really nice to see how many people turned up here.”

Chan said that she joined to bring awareness to racial injustices and inequality to Cranbrook.

“It was high time for us to address what’s going on globally, and I felt that as a human being, as a black woman, as an African woman, this was my chance to do what was expected of me and what I felt was right,” explained Chan.

Another one of the organizers said she got involved to bring awareness to racism against Indigenous people as well as show her support.

“We live in an area that acts like we are colorblind, yet colour impacts people of colour’s lives every single day, especially around here,” said Amanda Major, another event host. “I know many people that are afraid of natives here, they think they’re scary and dangerous and violent. That’s all not true, these are just prejudices that people have been taught at some point, and we have to unlearn them.”

Chan said that she has seen examples of bigotry locally as well, which she and other demonstrators feel needs to be addressed.

“There definitely is a problem, and most of the time its microaggressions. It’s things that are so subtle that when you go by it, it’s like, ‘oh that really did happen.’ Sometimes it’s really out there, and sometimes its really subtle, but I definitely think that it is a problem in Cranbrook. People tend to ignore it or brush it off and pretend it didn’t happen, but it exists,” said Chan.

Demonstrations began in the United States as a response to the death of George Floyd, a black man living in Minneapolis who was killed when a police officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Protests to show solidarity and raise awareness have since been held across Canada and the rest of the world.

Chan explained that showing support at demonstrations is a good first step towards equality, but much more work needs to be done.

“People need to take the time out to educate themselves and why this is a movement and why this is necessary and urgent, and why we need people’s support. There are very many resources that people need to utilize, be it Netflix movies or sitting down and doing research, but there’s a lot of unlearning that people need to do, and I think with them showing up today that was one of the first steps,” said Chan. “I definitely encourage people to take the time and sign petitions, contact their local council and do the actual work. As much as this ends today, the fight still continues.”

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Continue Reading