Lethbridge citizens protest against racial injustice
LETHBRIDGE -- Even though protests against racism began in the United States following the death of George Floyd, supporters in Lethbridge have been touched by the story and are taking action.
Hundreds demonstrated outside city hall in Lethbridge and wanted to highlight that racism is still very much a problem in Canada.
Protester Victor Iyilade Jr. said when people say racism doesn’t exist in Canada it’s a complete lie.
"If we could just look at the history of Canada from residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, the contributions of black soldiers in the War of 1812 all the way down to carding even here in Lethbridge."
Iyilade Jr. said being discriminated has become part of his daily reality.
Tim Morris said because his wife is a woman of colour and his kids are bi-racial, they’ve been victims of discrimination.
"I am a privileged person with the colour of my skin. I can walk the streets anytime of the night, I can walk the streets, I’ve travelled the world, I can go anywhere I want and walk the streets and feel safe. My friends (and) my family, they can’t do that."
Morris said he and his family just moved from Toronto to Lethbridge and he said he’s seen some of his friends be tackled by police.
Lethbridge police Chief Scott Woods acknowledged Wednesday that changes need to be made.
"Nationally, we’re a little bit low from numbers including female officers and other diverse agencies and that’s one of the things that have identified and we’re trying to move forward on."
Woods said it’s about rebuilding trust with Indigenous communities, Black Canadians and other groups that face discrimination.
Protest organizer Legacy McAdam said she hopes this time all of the demands for change will stick.
"We’re not bad people," she says. "People of colour have been discriminated against for hundreds of years and now is our chance to stand up and voice our concerns voice our opinions and be heard."
McAdam said the protest is about bringing peace, she said has yet to meet anyone who doesn’t understand why there is a need for change and she hopes that continues.
Thursday was also the start of many memorial services and vigils for George Floyd.