SUDBURY -- A Black Lives Matter rally is scheduled to take place Friday in Sudbury, a date known as Juneteenth, which has been marked since 1865 as the day to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States.

The June 19 event in Sudbury will be held at 1 p.m. in Bell Park, on the hill behind the Grace Hartmann Amphitheatre.

"Contrary to popular narratives, Canada is not immune to racism, discrimination, and police brutality," said a release from Standing up for Racial Justice Sudbury, the organizers of the march. "In Northern Ontario, BlPOCs (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) are continuously marginalized and oppressed by our institutions.

"We live in a society that is resistant and uncomfortable with discussions of racism, therefore we feel it is imperative to shed light on this overarching issue."

The rally will begin with speeches from Black and Indigenous leaders in the community, followed by a peaceful march to downtown, and then looping back to Bell Park.

"All attendees are urged to wear a form of personal protective equipment to respect public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic," the release said.

Juneteenth not only commemorates African American freedom, the release said, it emphasizes education and achievements. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States.