A day after Friday’s anti-racism rally at the Alberta Legislature grounds, there are calls for change — and commitments that change is coming.
An estimated 15,000 people took part.
“Putting a spotlight on things that need to change and how we’re going to do so as a community and moving forward what we can do, to do that,” said Chanceline Rukundo with Black Lives Matter Edmonton on Saturday.
“This is a message we’re going to keep going on for a very long time, we’re not going to stop until changes are done.”
David Shepherd, MLA for Edmonton City Centre, who was a guest speaker at the rally, said Saturday that the dialogue was an important starting point.
“All of us who hold sway in the systems of power that have these impacts on people’s lives, we need to sit down, we need to open the dialogue and give the community the chance to speak,” Shepherd said.
“We hear you, we’re going to work on it, but please don’t expect us to be able to turn the world upside down right away, but many of us are committed to this work,” Ward 6 Coun. Scott McKeen said.
City council is set to meet with the Edmonton police officials on Wednesday to discuss what officials can do to stop racism and systemic injustice in the community.
While change may take some time, police hope the gesture of taking a knee alongside protesters Friday night may be a move in the right direction.
“We want to protect you, we want to hear you but we have to work together,” president of the Edmonton Police Association Sgt. Michael Elliot said. “We realize how much hurt and pain this has caused and knowing that we can understand and communicate with our community means everything to us.”
Elliot says development is something the service is committed to.
“We’re here to listen, we want to learn, we’re going to learn, we’re going to continue to reach out to the community cause if we stay stagnant how can we progress,” Elliot explained.