Brandonites held a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter in Manitoba’s second largest city this weekend.
Kenyi Kubeari, who plays guitar and sings, said he was part of a group playing tribute songs at the Brandon rally on Saturday evening to honour Black lives lost and embrace change.
“It’s important for me to be here because just recently in the news, seeing all this hate, it really inspired me to just try to find a way to contribute to making the world a better place,” he said.
“I feel like music is such a powerful tool to bring people together.”
The Saturday evening event drew a crowd to Brandon’s Princess Park, where small groups huddled around picnic tables and spaced out on the grass to condemn systemic racism and violence against Black people.
The event was promoted by Brandon for Black Lives Matter, who shared a post on Instagram Friday that said, “Black folk … scream at the top of your lungs and fight as hard as you can. We will stand together as we fight against everything that has been made to hurt us,”
“Times are changing and Brandon will be [a part] of that change,” it reads.
‘It still happens everywhere’
It was crucial to organize an event in Brandon, Kubeari said, because systemic racism occurs there.
“No matter how minute or small, it still happens everywhere, so it’s important,” he said.
“Just because we’re not in a big city, we still have to understand that and try to find a way to change it.”
The now-global Black Lives Matter movement shines a spotlight on the hardships and oppression faced by Black people, the strength of those who are fighting and the lives lost to violence.
Protests have erupted in Canada and across the world since the murder of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 when a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Nearly three weeks after Floyd’s death, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, people are continuing to take their concerns to the streets to raise awareness of the specific hardships faced by Black people and negative experiences with racial discrimination.
In Winnipeg, thousands of people streamed in to the Manitoba legislative grounds on June 5 for Justice 4 Black Lives, and Brandon followed with their own rally this weekend.
Small Prairie city shows up
Reece Lockhart had attended to join the “fight for tomorrow” in their hometown, and to make living conditions better for Black community members now, not later.
“Why wait for [change] to come when you can fight for it today?”
Paige Fischer, who identifies as Métis, wanted to use her voice and show up because all the support adds up.
“It’s important to do it in every single city just to bring awareness for everywhere,” she said.
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