A Williams Lake teen and her friends are organizing a peaceful, socially distant protest in the city Friday afternoon in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that has swept the world this week.
Rea Klar hosted a gathering with friends Tanya Mattu, Seerat Sanghera and others Thursday afternoon, June 4, to make signs promoting equality for all.
“I’m doing it to raise awareness and I wanted to show that Canada isn’t perfect,” said Klar. “It does have some racism in it and we need to educate ourselves about this and just support people of colour. Everyone should be equal.”
Sanghera said she’s proud to be a part of the rally. All three young women nodded their heads when asked if they experienced racism, with Sanghera adding “a lot.”
“I can say there is discrimination in Canada as much as some people say that there isn’t, there definitely is,” Sanghera said.
Klar said she does feel racism isn’t quite as extreme in Canada as it is in the U.S., however, it is still important to raise the issue.
They all agreed, racism hurts.
“When I was younger it used to bother me a lot more than it does now. I feel like I’m more desensitized to it because I realized ‘oh, I guess it just comes with it,'” said Sanghera.
“In a sense, it’s also empowering,” added Klar of experiencing racism. “I feel like it’s raised me to become stronger as an individual and it has taught me to accept people more and be more open-minded.”
Sanghera said racism shouldn’t just be ignored.
“You can’t exactly run away from it. It’s everywhere.”
The teens said everyone is welcome to join them for their peaceful protest, starting at 2 p.m. at the Save-On-Foods parking where they will meet, then walk to Williams Lake City Hall and back past the RCMP detachment.
Klar notified the RCMP and Save-On-Foods of their plans, who were supportive, she said.