A couple of hundred Black Lives Matter supporters participated in the Red Deer Peace Walk on Sunday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Peaceful anti-racism protest held in Red Deer on Sunday

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement shared their message with words, music and street dancing Sunday in Red Deer.

Hundreds gathered at Coronation Park in the afternoon.

There was a small counter protest group about 20 metres away.

Police had blocked off the streets and a helicopter circled above the city’s downtown.

The group walked the streets chanting “Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Lives Matter, Pride Lives Matter” with music, dancing and cheering.

Cheryl Jaime, co-organizer of Sunday’s Red Deer Peace Walk, said an event Sept. 20 that was marred by conflicts was proof of why conversations around racism are important.

Videos circulating on social media showed violence and assault, but there have been no charges laid to date.

“For years, racialized folks have been silenced, and even at the last one, we were silenced, and we were unable to do it because of these hate groups,” said Jaime, the founder of Red Deer Against Racism.

Jaime said she was not impressed with the RCMP’s conduct at the Sept. 20 event.

“But (today) I’m grateful they’re here and going out of their way to make this possible, locking down downtown and then creating a barricade between us and these groups and ensuring that everybody’s safety is top priority.”

Corrie Brown, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement from Sylvan Lake, said she wanted to lend her voice to the walk and the cause.

Comparing Sunday’s protest to the previous one, Brown said she had not seen any aggression.

“I myself am white, however, most of my immediately family is not… and I know my experience will never be their experience.

“And I have observed this, as to how people treat them and how people talk to them, like my sister, who is probably the smartest and the kindest person I know.

“People still judge her based on her skin.”

Claire Pearen, an Edmonton resident who grew up in Lacombe, also participated in the last protest.

“I feel a ton better. I feel a lot of good vibes, a lot of good folks. People are here for the right reasons,” Pearen said.

“As a person of colour, I don’t feel like my best interest is at police officers’ heart. It does make me feel hopeful that less reactions are going to happen (here today with the police around).

“This protest is a lot calmer, it’s a lot smoother, speakers are actually going to be able to speak. Messages will be heard and that’s the point of a peaceful protest.”

The other side will keep showing up, said Pearen, pointing to the counter protesters at the park.

“I’m happy there’s distance. I would much rather have them be over there and stay over there, than us be anywhere close to each other.”

Dell Harvey-Goodwin, a Red Deer resident, said he attended the Sept. 20 rally and it made him angry.

“All I heard was vulgarity screamed over the megaphones, just people debating other people’s existence.

“Today was a little nerve-wracking, because there were counter protesters there when I got to the park, and people were trying to infiltrate our side, but once we started moving, there was so much freedom, joy and fun,” said the 18-year-old.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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A couple of hundred Black Lives Matter supporters participated in the Red Deer Peace Walk on Sunday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

A couple of hundred Black Lives Matter supporters participated in the Red Deer Peace Walk on Sunday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

A couple of hundred Black Lives Matter supporters participated in the Red Deer Peace Walk on Sunday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

A group of counter protesters in downtown Red Deer on Sunday. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

A group of counter protesters in downtown Red Deer Sunday were about 50 feet away from the Black Lives Matter movement crowd. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

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