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‘We want change:’ Anti-racism demonstrators hold events in Toronto

Hundreds march in protest against anti-Black racism in Toronto
WATCH: Hundreds march in protest against anti-Black racism in Toronto

Demonstrators gathered in Toronto on Saturday for anti-racism protests, the third weekend in a row such protests have been held in the city.

Dozens gathered outside of Old City Hall, while a larger rally was held at Christie Pits Park.

Demonstrators carried signs denouncing anti-Black racism and chanted “we want change,” as well as other slogans referencing George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Black individuals who lost their lives at the hands of police officers.

Those at the Christie Pits rally then moved onto city streets, eventually making their way to Queen’s Park, where demonstrators took a knee and held a fist in the air for several minutes.

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“We want changes to happen. Not just for us, but for our children because they’re going to grow up in this society where it’s going to be unfair in the same way that it is in many areas for us,” said Mellissa Grant, who attended the event outside Old City Hall.

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“The only way that change can happen is if we let our voices be heard.”

The Toronto demonstrations were some of several held throughout the Greater Toronto Area on Saturday.

Markham, Ont. protest seeks to end anti-Black racism
Markham, Ont. protest seeks to end anti-Black racism

A separate event was held in Markham, where hundreds of mostly young people gathered to protest anti-Black racism.

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That event was organized by 16-year-old Sydney Baxter.

“She’s asking on behalf of Black youth in Markham and all of York Region and the GTA that adults do better,” said Vanessa Stoby, Baxter’s aunt.

“Adults need to step up in the system of education. … The curriculum needs to change and needs to reflect Black voices.”

Stoby said Baxter would also like to see more Black representation in labour organizations and improvements in community policing.

Protests against anti-Black racism have spread throughout Canada and the world in recent weeks, sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.

In Toronto, the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet has also led to calls for change. The 29-year-old Black woman died after falling from her balcony during an interaction with police after a call for mental health assistance.

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