PEI

Protesters against white supremacy march in downtown Charlottetown

More than 100 people gathered in Charlottetown Saturday morning to march against white supremacy in solidarity with the anti-racism protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Organizers say the march is in solidarity with anti-racism protesters in Virginia

Over 100 people participated in Saturday's march against white supremacy. The march is also in solidarity to the counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virgina last week. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

More than 100 people gathered in Charlottetown Saturday morning to march against white supremacy in solidarity with the anti-racism protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Protesters marched down Queen street carrying signs that read "Black lives matter" and "No tolerance for intolerance."

"It's important to be proactive and vocal about our opposition to white supremacy and violence in all of its forms," said organizer Hannah Gehrels. "Racism and white supremacy is on this Island."

As an example, organizers reminded people about the ongoing fight to change the name of Port-la-Joye – Fort Amherst National Historic Site.

It's named after General Jeffery Amherst who is believed to have advocated spreading smallpox virus through blankets given to Indigenous people back in the 1700s. 

'White people need to take ownership of this issue'

Some organizers said they've also seen confederate flags being flown on Island homes.

​"People are unafraid to show their allegiance to that hate and that prejudice and white supremacy," said Gehrels.

"There's a lot of other micro-aggressions and more subtle forms of racism and hate that take place every day in all of our communities," said Brad Deighan, who also helped organize the march.

Organizers say they hope the march informs those who may not know about the existing racism and white supremacy on the Island. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"White people need to take ownership of this issue and deal with it," he said.

Organizers also requested the presence of local police, who escorted the marchers down Queen Street.

"We need to be highly visible," Gehrels said. "We need to make it very clear that it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

"I think a march shows a very vocal and clear message to the whole Island about what our values are."

'Sometimes inaction is kind of an action too'

For his part, marcher Onoriode Ikede said Saturday's event was about educating others.

"That is exactly why we're here today, just to teach people that sometimes you might be ignorant by being racist," he said.

A protester holds a sign that reads "Black lives matter" before the march. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Ikede also said it's important to take a stand.

"If you see something that's being done wrong and you don't say anything you're actually making an action for not making an action at all," he said.

​Politicians left out

Members of different community groups across P.E.I. were invited to speak at the event, including The Island Peace Committee, Women's Network PEI and the Black Cultural Society of Prince Edward Island.

Deighan said organizers chose to not invite politicians to speak at the rally.

"They have their own platforms and we think they should use those to speak out," he said.

"We wanted to keep this rally free from political agendas."

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