Southern Alberta teen moved to speak out following death of George Floyd
Carson Warren is a 13-year-old kid with a love for hockey and a determination to speak out against racism.
He was among the speakers at an anti-Black racism demonstration in Lethbridge on Thursday, telling protestors that he doesn’t want to be judged or defined by his skin colour.
“I wanted to come out and support my race, and other colours of course,” said Carson, whose family lives in the hamlet of Moon River Estates, west of Lethbridge.
Carson is Black and was adopted by white parents, Charles and Joy Warren, when he was four days old.
He is one of only two Black children at his school in Fort Macleod and says he has experienced racism while playing one of his favorite sports, hockey.
“I’ve been told, 'Why are you playing hockey? It’s a white sport,'" he said
Carson’s parents say he has also been subjected to racial comments from other players and they made a decision to pull him out of minor hockey because league officials didn’t know how to deal with their complaints.
He currently plays for the Lethbridge Mustangs of the Premier Hockey League. Joy said Carson feels welcome and accepted by the coaches and players.
Carson was the youngest person to speak at the protest and his mom said he was nervous when he stood on the steps of city hall and delivered a brief but powerful message, saying “I do not want to be judged or defined by my skin colour.”
Carson told the crowd that he wants equal justice for all people, no matter the colour.
“Now is the time for change. Let’s make this happen," he said.
He then invited the protestors to kneel, in support of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, as Floyd told officers, "I can’t breathe."
Joy said one night after Floyd was killed, Carson came to her and asked, “Mom, can this happen to me because I’m Black?”
That’s when she decided that Carson needed to have a voice.
“Of course we are very proud and we support him," she said.
Carson said it made him happy to see so many people attending the Lethbridge protest and calling for change.
“And I saw so many skin tones, that they didn’t care what colour you are," he said.
His mother is encouraged by the global outpouring of support to end racism and is hoping it will lead to a better future for Carson, his children and her grandchildren.
“We are hopeful that he doesn’t have to face racism as he has in his 13 young years. And we are very hopeful for him and his family, because we don’t see him of colour," she said.
"We see him as a 13 year old, Carson Warren, who is very brave and courageous."