A rally against racism and bigotry is coming to Blackfalds.
Blackfalds Against Racism Peaceful Protest and March will be held on Saturday, June 27 at 1 p.m. starting at the Multi-plex and co-organizer Kisha Daniels said the idea stemmed her and her son Callum Daniels’ experiences in the community over 20 years.
“We have faced racism in this town, like I’m sure other visual minorities have,” she said. “With the recent events, we decided it was time to to speak up against discrimination. It is time to be silent no longer.”
Daniels began by creating a Facebook group to begin a conversation about racism in central Alberta and around the world. The group led to the creation of the protest in solidarity with protests happening around the world. The event has grown to include support from the Town of Blackfalds.
“It is really positive for us that the Town of Blackfalds supports our event,” she said. “They have also invited us as a delegation to council on June 23.
“What we are asking is that the Town takes a stand against hate and make a declaration that racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ2+ or any other form of bigotry is not welcome in Blackfalds.”
Daniels said support from the community has been mixed, with many people misunderstanding their intent.
“A lot of people think that people of different ethnic communities —Black Indigenous or other people of colour — are trying to take something from them. We are not. We just want equality,” Daniels said.
Daniels has also kept safety in mind given the virus and has made attempts to mitigate risks.
“We reached out to the pharmacies in Blackfalds and IDA has offered to donated masks for the event. I also had a private citizen make a donation of hand sanitizer to the event. We encourage social distancing and if you have a mask — please bring one,” she said.
Daniels has also informed local authorities of the event in order to ensure everyone’s safety at the event.
“We are not interested in people wanting to spread violence. That doesn’t deliver our message. If you want to bring violence — stay home. If you are sick or have travelled out of the country, please stay home,” she said.
Daniels said she is inviting everyone to attend the event with open hearts and open minds.
“Racism and bigotry of any kind is everywhere and it is used in everyday language, music and entertainment. We are not asking to be above anyone — we are asking to be heard without judgment, accusation or prejudice. We are asking you to listen with open hearts and minds and an ear for understanding,” she said.
She added, “We are asking Caucasian people to stand up and speak as well. Those people can help confused or ignorant people understand our experiences as racialized peoples.”
More information can be found on the events Facebook page.