Organizers behind a rally protesting Michael Brown’s death say the violence in Ferguson, Mo., has struck a chord in Halifax.
It's been ten days since Brown’s death and there's still turmoil in the streets of Ferguson where racial tensions have boiled over since a police officer killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man. He was shot six times.
Brown's Aug. 9 slaying by a white officer angered many in Ferguson, a predominantly black community where the police force is mostly white.
In Halifax, the organizers of Tuesday afternoon’s rally are calling this an important moment in history they hope starts a discussion.
“We've seen a number, a number of cases where young black men in particular have been victims of violence. So we want to stand up and say to the youth in our community that your life has value and we need to fight against the forces
'So we want to stand up and say to the youth in our community that your life has value.' - El Jones
in our communities that prevent black men from reaching their potential and black women,” said Halifax’s poet laureate El Jones.
“What's happening in Ferguson is really, really deplorable and I think conscious people would definitely get it but as you know in this world there are a lot of people who are very, very unconscious. So I hope for example, by today it will awaken the conscience of a lot of people,” said Dalhousie student Ntombi Nkiwane.
Missouri may seem far away, but the women say it hits close to home. They say Halifax's own racial history proves that it could happen here.
They point to the discrimination of boxer Kirk Johnson, who was pulled over by police in 1998. A human rights commission found officers had acted on a stereotype that night.
Then there's Africville, the black community bulldozed in the 1960s.
“I think we can take that lesson and say how do we organize before we are in a state of crisis? How do we build strong structures now before we have to be reactive to something like this? So I think you also feel a feeling of empowerment as well as all the terrible things that you see,” said Jones.
Jones and Nkiwane say Tuesday’s rally is a chance for not just the black community, but the whole city to talk about racial issues.
They hope to inspire change.
The rally is planned for 4:30 p.m. AT in Victoria Park.
Jones says the group will then walk to the U.S. consulate on Upper Water Street