A peaceful protest in honour of the recent deaths of people of colour is being planned.
A group on Instagram calling itself kamloops.blm.movement is organizing a noon rally in Riverside Park this Thursday.
BLM stands for “Black Lives Matter.”
A notice for the rally states it is “a protest in honour of Regis Korchinsky-Paquet, George Floyd and the many other unarmed P.O.C. (people of colour) being murdered daily. Remember their names. Fight for equal rights.”
The rally will be moved to Prince Charles Park downtown if there are flooding issues in Riverside Park, according to organizers.
Paquet was a 29-year-old black woman who fell to her death from a 24th-floor apartment unit in Toronto on May 27. At the time, she was in the apartment unit with police officers, called there by Korchinsky-Paquet’s mother, who said her daughter was in a state of distress.
Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who died after being arrested by police in Minneapolis. Video footage shows officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd lay facedown on the street, begging Chauvin to release his body weight and saying he could not breathe. Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest were fired and Chauvin was later charged with third-degree murder.
Floyd’s death sparked protest and riots in cities across the United States, with the unrest continuing this week.
KTW contacted organizers, who did not wish to have their names published.
“We’d rather remain anonymous to help direct the publicity to the purpose of the actual protest,” they told KTW via email.
“Initially, we were only expecting a handful of people, but many more have shown interest. We’re unsure exactly how many will show up. This was organized only by a small group that was only expecting a small group in attendance.”
Organizers say they are aware of violence that has resulted from some protests in the U.S., but noted the noon protest in Kamloops on Thursday is designed to be peaceful.
“As of now, we have no concerns regarding those that would cause any trouble or panic. We highly discourage inciting violence as we feel it won’t help prove our point. We want to stand together with those that are and will struggle.”
Organizers were asked by KTW to explain the goal of the rally, with respect to Kamloopsians.
“To those that think this rally/protest won’t do anything, I’d ask them why they think this way? Canada is not a country immune to racism and oppression. Our goal is to raise awareness to these ongoing issues and encourage people to continue to talk about them, even when there isn’t a global conversation," they said.
“This country has a long history of oppression of minorities that still continues to this day. Who are we to judge and silence those people? Who are we pretend the people in other counties don’t matter as well? In Kamloops, we have to show our support for other communities and make sure they know we care.”