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Southern Alberta rallies against racism

Protestors reminded Canadians that racism exists north of the border.
People called for an end to discrimination against people of colour.

People rallied against racism Thursday on the steps of Lethbridge City Hall.

A Fort Macleod youth led the way Thursday during a peaceful anti-racism gathering on the steps of Lethbridge City Hall.

Carson Warren, 13, made opening remarks and then encouraged the more than 1,000 people gathered to take a knee for close to 10 minutes.

“I am here today to tell you I do not want to be judged or defined by my skin colour,” Carson said.

Carson told the large gathering, many carrying signs stating “Black Lives Matter,” that no one should be stopped or discriminated against because of the colour of their skin

“I want equal justice for all people, no matter their colour,” said Carson, a Grade 7 student at F.P. Walshe school.

“Now is the time for change. Let’s make this happen.”

At Carson’s urging, the crowd made up of people of all ages and skin colours dropped to one knee.

They remained on that knee for close to 10 minutes, towards the end raising a fist in a Black power salute.

The event was held in response to the death of American George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Videos circulating on-line show Floyd on the ground  with a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck.

People at Thursday’s rally carried signs proclaiming a statement attributed to Floyd: “I can’t breathe.”

Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second degree murder.

Other signs at the rally in Lethbridge carried slogans such as:

“Racism is a pandemic.”

“End discrimination against people of colour.”

“Colour is not a crime.“

“The promise of civil rights has never been fulfilled.”“Hands up means don’t shoot.”

In addition to protesting police violence, the rally in Lethbridge also served to remind people racism is a problem north of the border.

People carried signs proclaiming “Blackfoot for Black Lives Matter.”

Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman said racism has no place in the city or southern Alberta.

Opportunity should exist in southern Alberta for everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin, religious belief or background.

“Racism has been part of our history,” Spearman said. “We have to make sure it’s not part of our future.”

The Lethbridge rally was organized by Group United Against Discrimination (GUARD).

Floyd’s death while in police custody has triggered protests, violence and riots across the United States.

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