Hundreds gathered in Kingston in solidarity with anti-Black racism protests happening around the world with the message — Black Lives Matter
“This is about our voice being heard,” says Constantin Mugenga, an organizer of a vigil called “Justice for George Floyd and all police racism victims”, held on Saturday in Confederation Park across from Kingston City Hall.
The main message was “stand in solidarity”.
“We need to have white people, we need the minority population, including the Black community, Indigenous people and people of colour,” says Mugenga.
“We have the same voice. We understand what has been going on and we fight for justice. And hopefully things are going to change.”
The vigil was attended by hundreds of people from the Kingston region who were there to demand justice for anti-Black racism in Canada and to honour George Floyd, a Black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis, Minn., police
In the crowd, one couple told Global News that the many different colours of faces represented at the vigil is a good start to the conversation.
“I think it is awesome,” says Shereece Allen, who is Black. “And I think it is very important for everyone to come together, unite, and set an example for the rest of Canada.”
Allen’s boyfriend Mark Manuel, who is white, says his girlfriend lives with racism nearly every day.
“I try to understand it as best I can, because we are from such different places,” says Manuel. “I think it is more of a learning thing for me. I don’t think I can really say I understand it, because I don’t, but trying to ask the right questions and trying to really feel her out and understand where she comes from.”
“I do feel support,” says Allen. “I feel like he tries to ask the best questions, tries to do his own research … read up on things, search online for different experiences from other people.”
“We want to have this conversation, not to make people feel uncomfortable,” Mugenga added, “but for people to get together and feel that we are supported and we have a voice. And we are all working together to find a solution.”