Penticton makes stand against racism at Gyro Park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton makes stand against racism at Gyro Park

More than 350 people showed up to be part of a peaceful rally against racism at Penticton's Gyro Park this afternoon, June 7, 2020.
June 07, 2020 - 1:36 PM

Penticton residents took a stand against racism today, with hundreds gathering at Gyro Park and sharing personal experiences and ideas on what's needed to make things better.

“I’m so happy with this turnout,” organizer Autumn Joy Vickers said prior to the start of the rally, which had a crowd of about 350.

“There are so many people here who obviously support putting an end to racism,” she said.

“We just want to spread awareness.  A lot of people think there isn’t racism in Canada and there very much is. We just want to show those people that there is, but we also have supporters," she said.

The rally was originally planned to end with a march but Vickers said it was decided to keep the rally contained to the park.

An enthusiastic and polite crowd, many holding signs and placards denouncing racism, listened to several guest speakers tell of their personal experiences with racism, emphasizing the need to recognize it and talk about it.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki also spoke.

“I’m not here as mayor, I’m here as a Canadian citizen to stand for the cause being spoken about today, This is not a political stand, it’s a stand for the rights of people to live in peace in this country,” he said to a round of applause.

Penticton Indian Band member Josh Wilson said he had experienced “many different forms of racism.”

“I support the Black Lives Matter movement. There are a lot of experiences I could share,” he said, noting there was already “a lot of negativity out there,” and urging those in the crowd to “take care.”

“I do this for my children.,” he said.

Penticton Indian Band councillor Clint George said, “I’ve heard a lot of words lately. We need to concentrate on the ‘r’ word.”

“We need to concentrate on that ‘r’ word, to break it, and that circle of ‘r’,” he said.

George said as an artist he saw the world as a palette.

“We need to try and bring the world together, where colours unite for all of us,” he said.

The threat of a sudden downpour failed to keep Penticton residents from congregating at Gyro Park this afternoon to rally against racism.
The threat of a sudden downpour failed to keep Penticton residents from congregating at Gyro Park this afternoon to rally against racism.

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