Salmon Arm will be joining the ranks of communities around the world holding Black Lives Matter protests.
Two Salmon Arm residents decided to schedule protests for Thursday, June 4 and Saturday, June 6 to help fight for justice for George Floyd and to fight against police brutality.
Floyd, a Black man, was killed while handcuffed facedown on the street by white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Erin Caskey of Salmon Arm, one of the local protest organizers, said the need to fight for justice and against racism and police brutality has been important to her for a long time.
She and a friend were talking about Black Lives Matter and decided to promote the protests – two so if people can’t make one they can attend the other.
Caskey said her and her friend’s families are Indigenous and some family members have been through residential schools. Systemic racism exists and is affecting a lot of people, she said.
“There is a lot of profiling of Black and Indigenous people in Canada,” she commented, noting she has witnessed police brutality.
“It’s something really important to bring to light and get these police officers propertly prosecuted.”
Both police and targeted citizens could benefit from some sort of police reform or better training, she said.
“Something has to change. What’s happening in the world isn’t working. What’s happening now is dividing people further and further from each other, which isn’t going to benefit anybody in the long run.”
Caskey said the protests will be peaceful and families with children are welcome. She suggested people wear masks out of respect for the pandemic.
Heather Higginbottom has also been helping plan the protests.
“It’s important to me to bring awareness to this cause. Not only does it happen in the United States, it happens in Canada.
It’s something people have to be aware of and talk about, she said.
“Black people have to deal with it on a daily basis. It’s so wrong and we have to stand up for them so they can live their lives fully. Nobody deserves to be treated this way. Police brutality is a serious issue and no police officer is above the law.”
Higginbottom is Metis. By 2020, this discrimination should no longer be happening, she emphasized.
“By now they should all be equal. We shouldn’t be treated any different, because we’re all human.”
The June 4 and June 6 protests will begin at 12 noon along the highway by Alexander Street.
“Salmon Arm will fight for the justice of Geroge Floyd and the many other lives that have been lost to police brutality. Use your voice and stand up for what is right,” states the protest poster.