Juneteenth Racial Injustice Rally being held at Sudbury's Bell Park Friday afternoon
SUDBURY -- As communities around North America call for racial justice sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a rally is being held in Sudbury's Bell Park on Friday at 1 p.m. to mark Juneteenth, the day slavery ended in the United States.
The Sudbury rally begins behind the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre with speeches from Black and Indigenous leaders and will be followed by a walk to the Bridge of Nations.
Police say drivers should expect delays around Paris Street from York Street to Van Horne Street until about 4 p.m.
Juneteenth began more than two years after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation declaring freedom for all enslaved people. On June 19, 1865, Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their freedom.
Emancipation Day remains the oldest celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. However, 155 years after the news of freedom finally reached slaves in Texas, the country is still struggling with the issues of systemic racism and injustice.
Police officers say they will be attending the Sudbury rally to ensure the safety of the participants.
"We understand and appreciate the power of language and we are working with organizers to provide a safe platform for your voices to be heard," said Greater Sudbury Police in a news release. "We are here to listen and to be part of the solution. We acknowledge and take responsibility for the role police have played in systemic racism. Above listening, we are committed to taking action and working with diverse communities to ensure that all peoples are treated with respect and dignity."
Several other rallies held in Sudbury have been peaceful.
"We know that there is much work to be done and we will continue to work with you and listen to you as we work together to put an end to racism and violence," said police.
CTV's Ian Campbell is attending and will have more from the rally, check back for updates.