On this Sunday afternoon I took part in the anti-Black racism protest held at Celebration Square in Mississauga, Square One area. This is one of a sequence of protests being held around the Greater Toronto Area for Mr. George Floyd, the African American who was killed by police officers’ brutal use of force on March 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Chants of “George Floyd, say his name” and “Black Lives Matter” were heard loud and clear by over 2500 protesters, representing the Canadian melting pot; black, white, asian, brown, hijab wearers, and durag wearers alike. It was hard not to get your hearts filled, as vibrations of hope, community, love, and faith emanated through the streets of Mississauga.
Read my blog: Police Abusive Use of Force: Yatim and Floyd Case
The protest was organized by Mr. Innis Ingram, a Mississauga resident, whose best friend in grade 8 was an African Canadian girl. Ingram, a white man with ginger beard says his best friend got heckled when she was young, during the time of the Rodney King incident (an African American man who was brutally beaten by the Police in California). These were the pullings on Ingram’s heart which led him to take action. “It’s time to get off my butt and do something” says the Mississauga resident, “we want to show that Mississauga stands in solitary.” Looking around at this massive crowd peacefully marching around the downtown core, along Hurontario Street, it’s clear where the hearts and minds of the residents are.
Like Ingram and many others, it was important to me as a Jamaican woman to show my support for Floyd’s death. Feeling the immense passion of this young diverse group paints a picture of where we are going as a nation and society. This march is not only for today, it is a banner that the young will carry into their futures as they take on positions in civil and private sector. This march will influence young people to know what they believe, and take a stand for themselves and for others, in the name of justice and equality.
The signs clearly made their points: No Justice No Peace” “Racism is a Pandemic too”, “White Silence is Violence say their names”, and “Love Black People, Like You Love Black Culture.” The voices were loud and passionate in their chants. The purpose of this Mississauga protest is for policy changes against systemic racism, including the use of body-worn cameras for Peel Regional Police, for which the Mayors of Mississauga and Brampton expressed support.
Yes, these protests send out a clear message to all of us, and particularly for this generation to hear, to see, and to feel differently about racism. There is hope. The streets of Mississauga was filled with it, this Sunday afternoon on June 7, and it will be remembered for a long long time to come.