Hundreds of Red Deerians gathered in City Hall Park to peacefully protest against racism Friday.
“As a black woman, this is important. We face this on a daily basis. Racism and discrimination are all over,” said protest co-organizer Angie Chinguwo.
“It’s in our streets, in our backyards, and we just want to send out a message of love, saying we can all live together peacefully in Red Deer.”
The protest featured guest speakers and a march through the downtown.
“Having people of different colours and backgrounds coming to support us means a lot to us, because we are all in this together. We really appreciate it,” said Chinguwo, who organized the event alongside Charity Chinamora.
One of the speakers during the protest was Sheyi Paul Olubowale.
“I have not a lot in common with George Floyd or Brianna (Taylor) or Ahmaud (Arbery), but our skin colour,” Olubowale said while marching through the downtown.
“It’s not just about skin colour, it’s about the heart of humanity. It’s compassion that made me want to do this. I felt for them as humans.”
Olubowale said he was pleased to see people of all backgrounds attending Friday’s protest.
“I’m impressed with what’s going on. This is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Red Deer RCMP Supt. Gerald Grobmeier and fellow police officers were on hand to ensure the peace and to show support.
“We’re also here to show our support against racism and the large statement being made today, obviously about how black lives matter, but I think we can look at racism in total,” said Grobmeier, who walked through the downtown streets alongside protesters.
“Some communities have very adversarial relationships with police. That’s something within the RCMP we do not strive for. I take great pride that we don’t have that in Red Deer.
“Will I say we’re perfect? Obviously not. But we do have a pretty good relationship with the community.”
Another protest is scheduled for Saturday at noon outside City Hall. Protesters at that event are encouraged to wear masks and follow social distancing rules.