An emergency solidarity rally was held at the Saskatchewan legislative building on Tuesday in light of recent issues of racism and police brutality happening throughout North America.
“This isn’t a war against Black people versus White people. It’s Black people versus racism that we experience in the world and Saskatchewan’s no better,” said Whitney Walker-Ross, one of the hundreds of rally participants.
“It’s 2020, enough is enough. There is no need for racism.”
Organizers say it’s about justice for people of colour, supporting social, economic and political equality.
“We decided enough is enough. People need to know our stories as well we need to share our opinions and what needs to change in society,” said rally co-organizer Libin Salad.
“We just want to demand to have complete rights like everyone else because although in paper and in writing we do, we’re not actually treated like that.”
This comes following the recent death of George Floyd, who died during an altercation with police in Minnesota.
Another name mentioned in the Facebook post, hosted by community members Faith Iseoluwa and Salad, is Samwel Uko.
Uko, a 20-year-old Black man, was discovered dead in Wascana Lake on May 21. His family said he was dealing with mental health issues at the time of his death.
His cousin said he believes the health-care system failed him. On the morning of his death, Uko seeked help at the Regina General Hospital, but did not get the care he needed.
Rally organizers called on the Saskatchewan Health Authority to investigate the events leading up to Uko’s death and called for an end to “racial discrimination in the healthcare system.”
Salad said it was “heartwarming” to see hundreds of people turn out for the rally. But she said it’s frustrating events like this need to happen.
“We shouldn’t have to talk about this at all. This should be normal life for us not to have to deal with this sort of stuff,” Salad said.
Organizers said gloves, hand sanitizer and masks were provided at the rally and that social distancing measures will be in place.
The rally began at 11 .a.m.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe encouraging peaceful protest
Moe took to Twitter Tuesday morning, encouraging protesters to remain peaceful during the rally outside the Saskatchewan legislature building.
It said “peaceful protest is always welcome at our Legislature, such as the rally taking place later this morning against racial injustice.
“Vandalism is not acceptable. Last night, the War Memorial near the Saskatchewan Legislature Building was vandalized. This is outrageous.”
In a follow up Tweet, Moe asked anyone with information regarding the incident to contact local police.
Moe said he was unable to attend Tuesday’s rally as he stopped for a meeting in Saskatoon on his way from Shellbrook to Regina.
“I fully understand the reasons these individuals are coming together. I think they have the support of virtually everyone, including myself, in addressing what is a societal challenge,” Moe said.
“We saw a peaceful demonstration in support of tolerance, against racial injustice and to make the clear statement that Black lives matter.”