Armed with spray paint cans, brushes and rollers, community activists and others hit Ste-Catherine Street East in downtown Montreal to paint ‘Black Lives Matter‘ in French and English stretching an entire block between St-Hubert and St-André streets.
Organizers say they are trying to draw awareness to the racial inequalities and injustices Black people face.
“This message is for everybody to understand there is a situation that we’re facing as a Black community over here. We’re facing injustices, inequalities, and we need to transform that,” Will Prosper, a community activist told Global News.
Last week, Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron outlined several measures to try and address the issues, including putting an end to unwarranted pedestrian street checks.
While some applaud the effort, most insist the police steps don’t go far enough.
“What’s happening is not only south of the border, it’s also happening here in Canada and we need to bring that awareness — that we need to have the same rights, the same attention from our governments,” said Frantz André, Action Committee for People Without Status.
In several U.S. cities, the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ we’re painted on streets — some large enough to be seen from outer space.
Community activists did the same in Toronto on Canada Day.
“I think it’s a very good thing just to remind people that Black lives matter,” Cyralle Akwalla, a Montreal resident told Global News.
Niti Mueth, a graphic designer who was one of more than a dozen people helping to paint the words on Sainte-Catherine Street, says racial epithets have been thrown her way just because of the colour of her skin.
“What we’re doing here matters. We need to talk about our stories, our experiences,” she said.