SUDBURY -- The ugly reality of racism is something Laurentian University student Darius Garneau had to endure at a young age.

People of colour living in Canada have a common experience – at some point, they realize some people don't like them because of the colour of their skin.

"I think a lot of people need to understand that that's a conversation that they don't have, you know what I mean," said Garneau. "I remember being five or six -- and for me it was being at a swimming pool where a woman had yelled at me profusely, profanities and stuff -- and my dad took me aside after and said at a certain point, the world sees you as a monster, rapist or pedophile and that's how it is."

It's a lesson that's stuck with Garneau, who is proud of both his East Indian and Jamaican heritage and was raised in Sudbury.

"It's hard stuff," he said. "But people should know those are conversations that are happening and we should be moving in a direction where we can, hopefully, never have those conversations again."

Garneau was among the roughly 200 people who gathered in downtown Sudbury on Wednesday over the noon hour for a Black Lives Matter rally.

He, like many of us, trying to make sense of some of the images that are being shown in the media in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

For Ada Obi, a mother of two, she brought her young sons to the event in hopes of teaching them that lesson.

"I want them to know that it's not just about watching TV, that there's a lot going on in the world," Obi said.

"As a mom of two black boys, I want to make sure that their future is secure and there's justice. If there was justice and the police are able to recognize them as human, not just as black, but as a person, we wouldn't be here today."

"I try to follow some social media and am really inspired at how we're standing together, we're hearing the voices," said Jennifer Petahtegoose, an Indigenous Studies teacher at St. Charles College.

"I saw a big jingle dress dance online yesterday and my family, we jingle dress dance. We were really moved by that and wondering how we can contribute, as well."

Petahtegoose said history is unfolding before our eyes and there is a lesson for everyone, including young students who are watching this at home.

She said events that are happening now will likely be taught in a lot of history classrooms moving forward.

"We have a duty to look at the issues and understand what's happening in media and giving the kids hope that we can build a better future," she said.

Sudbury MPP Jamie West, a father himself, said there are lessons to be learned for all of us.

"I think what you're seeing on television now is reality," West said. "Sometimes it's easier, particularly if you look like me to not experience it, not hear it and not see it. And so what we're seeing is a reality for a lot of people of colour."

Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen was on hand and 'took a knee' along with the rest of the crowd. He was carrying a sign that said "we are learning."