Sudbury BLM protesters demand change as Friday march celebrates Juneteenth
SUDBURY -- Hundreds of protesters gathered along the shores of Ramsey Lake in Sudbury on Friday demanding action from city leaders.
In what might be northern Ontario's largest Black Lives Matter rally yet, hundreds came to mark Juneteenth, an important day that marks the day slaves in Texas were told they were free.
Cries of "no justice, no peace" could be heard under the hot sun as protesters demanded change.
"There have been people out there that say they don't see colour," said protestor Darius Garneau. "In the past when people said that, that might have been seen as a good thing. But we're at a point now where not seeing colour is not (enough). There's a big difference between action and accepting."
They came armed with signs and messages - everything from 'Black Lives Matter' to 'Red is the Colour of my Blood."
"I'm African, you're American or Canadian, you are white, you are black, you are red, you are yellow, whatever is your colour, the blood is the same colour," said attendee Jean Bah.
The day was particularly important to Ticcara Paquet. Paquet's cousin, Regis, died after falling from a highrise apartment while dealing with Toronto police.
Paquet said organizers here want culturally appropriate mental health and wellness training for Sudbury police. They also say it's time the service got body cameras for front-line officers.
"One hundred per cent there is a problem with police brutality in Sudbury," Paquet said. "Just to relate my grandfather -- one of the first black people to come to Sudbury -- nobody would rent him a room, no one would give him a job because he was Black."
There were people of all colours in Friday's crowd, representing different ethnicities, both old and young.
Hope Nyabeze said the message has to get through to everyone.
"We have to tell the world that all lives matter," Nyabeze said. "It's not just black lives -- people are just getting killed for nothing and that's not, you know, right."
It's a message Nyabeze is hoping we all hear loud and clear.