Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

PHOTOS: Hundreds demonstrate in Abbotsford for end to racism

Protest in city’s historic downtown was largest demonstration in recent memory

In one of the largest demonstrations in Abbotsford’s history, hundreds of people protested this afternoon in the city’s historic downtown to call for an end to racism.

The demonstration, along Essendene Avenue, was peaceful and mostly featured those present waving signs towards motorists passing through the area as music blasted from a nearby speaker. Demonstrators – almost all of whom wore masks – were serenaded by large numbers of honks.

No police was present while The News was present. More than half an hour of speeches were delivered by Black and Indigenous speakers.

Fify Loewen, who briefly attended the protest with her two sons and husband, said she became emotional seeing the show of support.

Loewen, who is Black and moved to Abbotsford three years, says that “overall, my experience here has been amazing.” But she said the number of demonstrators gave her confidence that, if she did encounter trouble, there would be people standing with her.

“I know that people are like ‘Enough is enough.’ To see people standing up and saying ‘No, we will not be silent, we see you, we hear you, we’re listening,’ That was really impactful.’”

And she said she hopes they are a sign that her sons, aged five and eight, won’t face barriers just because of their skin colour.

“I want them to grow up in a world where they have access to similar justice, they have equal rights as everybody else. I don’t expect them to get a pass, but I want them to have a fighting chance just like everybody else.”

Juwa Itto said seeing thousands across the continent protest over the past week was exciting. Itto and her friend, Sarah Mills, had begun talking about racism and injustice the previous year.

“I never thought in my entire life I would get to experience such an outpour,” she said. “The world finally gets the lesson: you’re a full citizen, you can’t turn a blind eye to it. You’re forced to come face to face with reality.”

Itto and Mills, both of whom are Black, said there are also important parallels between the experiences of Black people in the United States and Indigenous people in Canada.

“Just as we’re trying to find justice for the Black community in the States, I feel we should do the same thing with our Indigenous community,” Itto said. “Because we’ve seen some of the conditions that they’re in. They’re very similar and it’s not fair to cry out for one community when in our own country we have something that’s very similar to it.”

Mills said she hoped the protests would be a catalyst for further change.

“This is how we can all come together and take a step forward.”

For Loewen, the protests are important and impactful. But she warned that they are the start, not the end, of the struggle against racism.

“I’m starting to educate myself,” she said. “To not just be a non-racist but to be an anti-racist. If we can educate ourselves so we can identify racism, we’ll be able to stop it when it happens … Now the hard work begins.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Hundreds protested in downtown Abbotsford Friday afternoon in solidarity with demonstrations elsewhere in North America. Photo by Elizabeth Dagg

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Mission company wins third award for Kermode Cabin

Lacey Construction nets Georgie Award for project at Sandpiper Resort in Harrison Mills

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

Most Read