Chants of “We Want Justice” filled Kingston’s waterfront Saturday afternoon, as hundreds joined to protest anti-Black racism.
The Justice for George Floyd and All Police Racism Victims rally began around 12 p.m., for a peaceful physically distant gathering.
Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 after an officer placed his knee against his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in an incident that was caught on video.
The incident has since sparked protests around the world.
Among those at the event in Confederation Park in Kingston was Isaac Wills, who is looking to put the lens on the issue of police brutality.
“I just want justice for those in the community and everyone affected by these horrific events,” says Wills.
“This is something that’s been needed for a long time,” agrees Grace Clarkson.
Constantin Mugenga is one of the organizers of the rally. He feels encouraged by the diversity in the crowd, saying organizers focused on solidarity when planning the event.
Mugenga says it is about standing up for not just the Black community, but Indigenous and other minority groups as well.
“This is proof that people need change,” he explains. “Together we can fight and provide people with justice who do not have a voice”
This is the third call to action that has taken place in the Kingston area in the last week.
On Tuesday, a vigil drew hundreds of people, and on Friday, hundreds more turned out for a virtual town hall on race and racism in the city, which included Mayor Bryan Paterson.
Demonstrators say they feel encouraged, but that the conversation cannot end here.
“Its quite moving, it’s nice to see the support for the Black community, the Indigenous community and racialized groups, marginalized groups,” says Maria Vo.
“If we’re not talking about it now, [the next] generations going to experience the same thing the generations before me did,” says a protestor named Prince. “And the same thing I’ve experienced.”