Kelowna residents will gather at Stuart Park for a peaceful rally in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement on Friday, June 5.
“Kelowna stands with the BLM movement,” read a post from organizers on Facebook.
“We won’t let the silence wash away the lives that have been brutally lost to police brutality.”
The plan to protest comes after nearly a week of protests in the United States, which were sparked by a Minneapolis police officer seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe. Derek Chauvin was charged with murder on Friday, and all four police officers present during Floyd’s death have been fired.
Floyd’s death was the latest in a series of confrontations, assaults and deaths of black Americans. On Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was fatally shot in Georgia while jogging. On March 13, Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed during a nighttime “no-knock warrant” by plainclothes Louisville police officers. On May 25, a woman called the police on Christian Cooper to tell them he was “threatening [her] life” when Cooper asked the woman to put her dog on a leash in New York’s Central Park.
In Canada, protesters also want answers about Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a black woman fell to her death from a 24th-floor apartment when police responded to a 911 call. Korchinski-Paquet’s death is being investigated by the police watchdog.
On Sunday, May 31 a protest against anti-black violence and racism took over the grounds in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday night.
Thousands attended the rally, which Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said was peaceful. Kelowna will now look to follow suit.
Those attending the rally at Stuart Park in Kelowna will also have the opportunity to donate towards the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
The peaceful rally will commence at noon on Friday, June 5 at Stuart Park in Kelowna, B.C.
~With files from The Canadian Press