Written by on June 14, 2020

London, On. saw approximately 10,000 protesters show up to the downtown’s core in Victoria Park, on Saturday June 6, while wearing face masks and other PPE. Organized by five young women; Ayanna Cole, Djemma Toku, Ghaida Hamdun, Simone Anthonyson and Keira Roberts, the protest hosted immeasurable support from the London community.

It began with Anthonyson and Roberts opening statements of the reasons why this protest was important and why the world needs to come together to create change.

“We recently have lost people in our community due to police brutality. One being Caleb (Tubila Njoko), an African man here in London. Losing another life so close in proximity to me was when I said ENOUGH is ENOUGH.” Said Roberts.

Roberts continued, “This leaves an ache in my chest and I cannot bare it any longer. We cannot afford to see another name or hashtag. We cannot afford to lose another innocent black life in the hands of police and racists. The color of our skin should not determine the value of our lives.”

As Roberts’ opening speech marched onward, so too did the cheers of support from the community, as many stood to show their related passion that was sparked by the death of American man, George Floyd.

Toku, another organizer, went on to comment on the amount of money that raised through the BLM London chapter’s GoFundMe page. The original asking amount for the group was $5,000. At the start of the protest, donations amounted to over $40,000.

“It’s going to go right back to the community. Obviously we need the $5,000 for supplies but anything excess over that, which is obviously around $35,000 is going to go back to local and Canadian Black Lives Matter charities,” explained Toku.

“I guess you can’t really consider it a hurdle,” said Toku as she relayed hardships in organizing the BLM protest in London. “We weren’t prepared for this much of a turnout and this much support. It was more like, well we couldn’t get to the one in Toronto, so let’s have our own in London. There was such a large influx that we had to get more people involved and more people to help with the planning.”

During the protest, there was a slight scuffle with one man, who was white, whose name is not known. He wore a blue shirt that said, “Hetero is Bettero” and a sign that said, “Racism doesn’t exists in Canada”. Enough for fellow protesters to eject the man from the park with the help of police.

The march around Victoria Park began just shortly after 3:00 pm filled with people chanting, “Black Lives Matter!” as well as, “No Justice! No Peace!”

The protest remained peaceful throughout the end of the gathering as black, brown, yellow and white people united to bring awareness to this ever growing pandemic of systemic racism and police brutality.

Ayanna Cole and Djemma Toku

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