Ilona Davidson can’t stay silent anymore, so she has taken it upon herself to organize a peaceful protest to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 25-year-old Vernon woman was bombarded with articles and videos on social media covering the protests across the United States spurred by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
“I just felt I had to do something,” Davidson said.
She researched various Vernon-based community forums to see if someone was organizing a protest, but couldn’t find anything.
As a person with an Indigenous heritage, Davidson said racism exists in Canada and can no longer be ignored.
“Race crimes happen everywhere,” she said. “It’s not just the U.S.”
“I feel now, more than ever, we need to come together instead of falling apart,” she said.
A protest in Kamloops June 4 was cancelled by organizers hours before the event was to take place following online criticism, but Davidson said she is ready for feedback.
“Someone said to me, ‘Hey, you should let people of colour run the protest,’ and I understand that, I appreciate that,” she said. “But I have been in that situation where I was too afraid to stand up for myself and so, as a white person, I feel like it is my duty to be there for my brothers and sisters.”
The peaceful protest is slated for Wednesday, June 10, at noon on the steps of the courthouse.
“You’re not alone in this city,” Davidson said. “There are people here that care about you and will fight for you.”
Davidson said she hopes people will come to the rally with open hearts and open minds and “be willing to learn.”
View this post on Instagram
!! ATTENTION VERNON !! Earth Strike Vernon is teaming up with local independent activists for a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest on June 5 at 3pm. We are using our voice and platform to uplift local activists. As such, this is not a protest that we are organizing and running – we are in a supportive role here. Because of this, we felt that it was necessary to draw up and implement some basic rules and guidelines for members wishing to protest. Please see Slide 2 for COVID-19 guidelines, and Slide 3 for general protest guidelines. Earth Strike Vernon stands in full support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.