Anti-racism demonstrators march in Vancouver to mark Emancipation Day
August 1, 1834 — known as Emancipation Day — commemorates the end of slavery across the British Empire
Anti-racism protesters marched through the streets of Vancouver to mark Emancipation Day — a date commemorating the abolition of slavery across the British Empire.
"We want to highlight our culture and showcase our contributions to the world," said the event's co-organizer, Nova Stevens.
"For us, it's more than just talking about it and educating, you also want to celebrate," she said.
The event, which began at Jack Poole Plaza, is also intended to show support for and unity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier in the summer, large crowds gathered across B.C. and the rest of the country to draw attention to anti-Black racism in Canada and beyond.
"We just need everybody to be on the same page and wake them up to understanding that certain things are not right, and they hurt," said Shamika Mitchell, co-organizer of the event.
Organizers of the event asked participants to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, adhering to physical distancing guidelines, and monitoring for possible symptoms for two weeks following the march.
The event concludes at Sunset Beach Park, where Black artists and Black-owned businesses will be gathered for a celebration of Black culture.
The Slavery Abolition Act received royal assent on Aug. 28, 1833 and the legislation came into force across the empire and its colonies on Aug. 1, 1834.
Since that time, Canadian communities have staged events to celebrate the abolition of slavery.
Emancipation Day was recognized officially only in Ontario until Saturday, when the City of Vancouver officially declared Aug. 1 Emancipation Day.
There is a growing movement for broader recognition across provinces.
The City of Vancouver has officially proclaimed today Emancipation Day to commemorate the abolition of slavery in 1834. Organizers at today’s rally in support of BLM say Ontario is the only other place in Canada that has made this proclamation. <a href="https://t.co/ATc24mRIqw">pic.twitter.com/ATc24mRIqw</a>—@_rossandrea