Hundreds of people gathered at Parade Square in Halifax on Friday evening to honour the lives of people lost to police brutality in Canada and worldwide.
The candle vigil started after people marched to the police station on Gottingen Street where they placed lit candles on the steps.
“With our lit candles and our collective grief and rage we stand in solidarity with other #BlackLivesMatter movements around the world,” the organizers wrote on the Facebook event page.
Black people were also asked to come 30 minutes early to grieve alone together before the event.
“We really haven’t had the time to grieve properly among ourselves, so that was very healing,” said Cecilia Masimo, co-organizer of the event.
“Just hearing the whole crowd saying Black Lives Matter, like I know when I was growing up, it was really hard talking about black issues…and to see people now chanting about Black lives together is amazing,” she added.
The peaceful vigil was organized after a week of riots across the U.S., following the death of George Floyd.
The 46 year-old Black man was killed in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest, an incident that was caught on cellphone video.
There have been many peaceful demonstrations and vigils like the one in Halifax across the United States and Canada.
“I think you can feel it in the air that a lot of people want change. We are all tired of police brutality and seeing violence,” said Masimo.
She also said to the people who think racism and police brutality doesn’t exist in Canada to do some research and educate themselves on the realities and experiences of black folks.
“I think it’s definitely a disconnect between the reality versus what they think is happening in the world. We also live in a world where white lives are protected, and white thoughts and white feelings are protected and insulated,” Masimo said.
“If you don’t have black friends or you don’t even have black people around you, which is very common because Halifax is a very white city and it’s only recently that it has become more diverse, so it’s on them to look into why they don’t know and why they say there is no police brutality.”
Masimo encourages people who want to help, but don’t know how to reach out to her on Facebook.
“I am grateful to have these forums to attend and listen to amazing speakers while demonstrating the numbers of us who are demanding change,” said Lori Curtis in a post on the Facebook event’s page.
“We can’t stop marching/protesting until we see change and I will continue to show up as long as these events are organized,” Lori wrote.
People were asked to wear a mask, be careful to physical distance from others and to bring hand sanitizer if they have some to curb the spread of COVID-19.