About 300 people marched in Abbotsford on Saturday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s the second event in the last two weeks related to anti-racism, with another rally occurring in downtown Abbotsford on June 5.
This event was inspired, in part, after a makeshift memorial following the first event was destroyed less than a day later.
Organizer Willow Dennison-Hardy said she and many of those who attended the first event were disappointed in the destruction of the memorial and the City of Abbotsford’s lack of response to the incident.
She sent The News a statement following the event:
We decided to hold the march on Saturday because the desecration of our original memorial disturbed us, and we did not want the community to feel defeated by it. We were also concerned that the city (at the time) had not made a statement, and later on found their statement did not make a specific apology or a specific action plan.
We gathered at the Sikh heritage temple at 7pm, and began our march at 7:30. We arrived at city hall at 8pm and set up the new memorial. Approximately 300 people were in attendance. BIPOC speakers then took the megaphone and addressed the crowd, some with prepared speeches and some who decided to speak on the spot.
The crowd dispersed by 9:30, at which point the organizers took shifts sitting in front of the memorial to protect it until 6am the following morning. No attempts at vandalism were made, and at this time the memorial still remains intact.
We plan to remove it tomorrow morning, as we believe our message will have been sent.
Approximately $200 were received in donations, which will be sent to the Black Connections Go-Fund-Me. In combination with the last demonstration on Friday June 5th, total contributions were over $1200.
The organizers are a group of white and white passing individuals who reject the white saviourism narrative, and aim to protect and amplify BIPOC voices in the community.
Dennison-Hardy stated that there are no dates set for future actions, but did not rule out a future rally or march occurring. She added that organizers are taking a short break and looking to consult with the community to determine the next steps.