Hundreds filled Red Deer City Hall Park to protest against racism Saturday.
This was the third protest against racism held in the city this week – the other two happened Monday and Friday.
A handful of speakers told “heart-wrenching” stories about discrimination during the event, said Cheryl-Jaime Baptiste, one of the organizers of Saturday’s protest.
“There is no place for (discrimination). Seeing everybody come together as a community and how positive everyone is and supporting one another, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Baptiste, who also helped organized Monday’s protest.
People who downplay the level of racism in Canada need to “educate” themselves, said Baptiste.
“It is beyond real, it is absolutely everywhere. I don’t understand how you would want to downplay it. It is so present within society everywhere – literally everywhere,” she said.
Baptiste said she is unsure if she will organize any more of these protests in the near future.
Keanna Richards, one of the speakers at the protest, said she believes many are unaware how common discrimination is in Canada.
“I think a lot of people assume that just because we’re not in the United States that we don’t have to go through it. Although it might not be as bad, there are still prejudices that happen daily,” said Richards, who was born and raised in Red Deer.
Richards said seeing so many people come to the protest gives her “a lot of hope.”
“Seeing all these people here and seeing people that I know coming to make a stand show me there people willing to do just that.”
Monybany Dau, another speaker, said there has been a number of incidents where he has experienced racism since coming to Red Deer 17 years ago.
“I wanted my voice to be heard. I was contacted four days ago to do this. I never thought this would happen here,” said Dau, who is originally from Sudan.
Dau recalled a time where he was accused of shoplifting.
“An employee was following me all through the story. I realized someone was watching me, so I turned back and saw the lady watching me and she said, ‘I know you people. I know what you do.’ I cried. It was heartbreaking,” he said.