August 19, 2014 12:17 pm

Halifax rally to show support for Ferguson residents

HALIFAX – A Halifax group will hold a rally in Victoria Park on Tuesday to show their support for residents of Ferguson, Mo.

After a police officer in Ferguson shot and killed an unarmed teenager on Aug. 9, protests have become a daily routine for the small suburb of St. Louis.

READ MORE: Police, protesters collide again in Ferguson

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A group in Halifax led by the city’s poet laureate El Jones and Dalhousie University student Ntombi Nkiwane wants to show its support for the residents of Ferguson who have held daily protests against police brutality since Michael Brown’s death.

Jones says although Canada has not  faced the same level of tension between police forces and local communities, black people living in Halifax still have to deal with discrimination.

The disproportionately high levels of incarceration of black people in Canada is one example of the discrimination, Jones said.

In 2013, Canada’s correctional investigator Howard Sapers released a report highlighting the growing disparity. Between 2003 and 2013, the number of black people in Canada’s prison system increased by 90 per cent.

Differing levels of access to education and employment opportunities are other examples, according to Jones.

“Those things are part of state violence against black people,” she said. “They may not be cops shooting…but it still is endemic of [the question], do we value black lives as much as we value the lives of other people?”

Starting a conversation about those issues is one of the goals for Tuesday afternoon’s rally.

Nkiwane said it will be a good platform for the community to show its solidarity with Ferguson and each other.

“We said that we need to  do something in solidarity with Ferguson, but then also to look at the broader picture about how you know violence perpetrated against black people occurs all over the world, including here in Halifax,” she said.

The rally is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in Victoria Park. Nkiwane said organizers will then lead a peaceful march to the United States Consulate on Upper Water Street where there will be speeches, chants and protest songs.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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