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‘There’s still a lot to do,’ says Halifax activist on Stop the Violence Day

Quentrel Provo at the 2020 Courage to Give Back Awards in Halifax, N.S.
Quentrel Provo at the 2020 Courage to Give Back Awards in Halifax, N.S. Alexander Quon/Global News

For Quentrel Provo, an anti-violence and Black lives activist, the last few weeks have been emotional.

The Minnesota police killing of George Floyd, a Black unarmed man, has sparked hundreds of demonstrations for the Black Lives Matter movement world-wide.

Provo says he has been attending and organizing for the Halifax rallies.

“It’s been a really tough few weeks for me,” he says.

Click to play video 'Organizers surprised by overwhelming turnout at Halifax rally' Organizers surprised by overwhelming turnout at Halifax rally
Organizers surprised by overwhelming turnout at Halifax rally

Provo is the founder of ‘Stop the Violence, Spread the Love’, an initiative that advocates for peace, ending gun violence and improving the lives of Black youth in Halifax.

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The movement started eight years ago, following the death of Provo’s cousin Kaylin Diggs.

Wednesday marks the fifth annual Stop the Violence Day.

In 2016, Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed June 10 an official day commemorating Provo’s efforts in educating youth and organizations through anti-violence workshops and creating community opportunities for Black youth.

READ MORE: ‘Black Panther’ movie event in Dartmouth for young black people a success: organizer

Provo is asking Haligonians to wear the movement’s signature colour.

Quentrel Provo (right) leading the 2017 Stop the Violence march in Halifax for the fifth year in a row.
Quentrel Provo (right) leading the 2017 Stop the Violence march in Halifax for the fifth year in a row. Cory McGraw/Global News

“We all bleed red, so wear red and do acts of kindness today,” he says.

Provo says this year is unlike any other year for the movement. “It still feels like the beginning, eight years in.”

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The Black Lives Matter rallies have shown that more work needs to be done in fighting violence and inequalities, he says.

Click to play video '2 young men share what it’s like growing up black in Halifax' 2 young men share what it’s like growing up black in Halifax
2 young men share what it’s like growing up black in Halifax

Provo is also glad to see non-Black people being a part of the movement.

“People of privilege are really speaking out, and coming out to support those Black lives right now,” Provo says.

“We’ve been crying for years, we’ve been protesting for years, we’ve been fighting for years and our voices are going unheard. We need your voices.”

He believes change will come out of that solidarity, but it needs to continue beyond the social media trends, he says.

READ MORE: ‘It’s amazing’: Halifax’s ‘Stop the Violence’ founder nominated for prestigious award

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Last year, Provo was recognized by the United Nations in the global list of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) Under 40. Former recipients included Chance the Rapper, Colin Kaepernick and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.

Back then, he told Global News the real accomplishment is what he’s done in his community.

Provo said Wednesday, there’s still a lot to be done for Black lives.

“I’m going to keep grinding, keep doing what I have to do to do my part and make a difference.”