Hundreds gather for anti-racism vigil in Halifax
HALIFAX -- Hundreds of people come together for an anti-racism vigil in Halifax on Friday evening.
Black Lives Matter organizers say the candlelit vigil was designed to "hold space" at Grand Parade, and to commemorate and honour black and indigenous lives lost through racism and violence, not only over the past few weeks, but throughout the history of the ongoing fight for equal rights and treatment.
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is the latest catalyst for rallies, vigils, and protest.
Friday's event is the latest example of the groundswell of support that has been happening across the country -- and around the world -- as Maritimers join the call for an end to the racism and violence that has taken so many lives.
Trayvone Clayton says the turnout at a large rally Monday in Halifax meant a lot to him.
"It made me feel welcome," Clayton said. "It made me feel like people were really listening to what we had to say, or what was going on and their eyes were open."
Kate MacDonald, one of the organizers of Friday's event, was also impressed with the turnout.
"It's really wild to see how many people are actually mobilizing and being a part of movement," MacDonald said.
MacDonald says while the fight for equal treatment has lasted generations, she too, feels like something is different now.
"Yeah, just trying to keep my focus and energy moving forward, in hopes that this can really bring about some tangible changes," MacDonald said.
For Rev. Rhonda Britton, the past 10 days have been emotionally difficult.
"I have to continue to have hope, that this will be the time that we actually make a turn," said Rev. Britton of Rev. Britton.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., she is now a pastor at New Horizons Baptist Churchin Halifax.
She says the disturbing video of George Floyd's killing means the cost of racism cannot be denied and the need for change is affirmed.
"That we are going to not only pass laws, but we are going to govern our own hearts, to make sure that we are not contributing to the problem," Rev. Britton said.
MacDonald says there is work to do beyond tonight's vigil and ways that everyone can help, such as asking local politicians to give more funding to community initiatives and demanding accountability from authorities.
These can all be steps towards a change many feel is long overdue.
There are other events coming up in the Maritimes, including event in Truro and Amherst.
There is also a prayer protest this coming Sunday on the grounds of Africville in Halifax.