(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the photos to Joan Campana rather than to Monica Jones. The North Delta Reporter regrets the error.)
The social heart of North Delta beat a little faster on Saturday as dozens of protesters gathered in front of a large banner proclaiming “Delta Stands Against Racism.”
Organized by the Facebook group of the same name, the action marked North Delta taking its place in the wave of anti-racist protests sweeping cities and towns around the world. In what may be a first, simultaneous protests were held in North Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen.
In the north the group gathered at North Delta Secondary School where co-organizer Larry Johnston opened the event, reminding participants to physically distance and wear masks.
“We are here to help eliminate the pandemic of racism, but we want to keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay,” he said.
Daun Frederickson, president of CUPE Local 1091 in Delta, brought support and acknowledged the unceded land on which the rally was occurring, traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations and of all Hun’qumi’num-speaking people.
Johnston read greetings from area Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, who was in Victoria and unable to attend.
“From the bottom of my heart,” Kahlon’s message read, “I want to thank you for this initiative. It makes me proud to know that people in my community stand united against racism.”
The spirited group marched to the intersection of 84th Avenue and 112th Street near the George Mackie Library, chanting slogans and waving placards with their message that the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour matter. Other posters elaborated: “Radical Change Now to Stop Ongoing Murders of Indigenous Girls and Women,” “Time to Transform: End Systemic Racism” and “Silence is Violence.”
Support built throughout the afternoon. Passersby were enthusiastic and hundreds of cars drove past, most drivers honking horns and waving in agreement.
An anonymous benefactor emerged from the local 7-Eleven delivering two large packs of bottled water for the animated — not to mention hot and thirsty — demonstrators.
In Ladner, protesters lined up beside a 25-foot banner that read “Delta Stands Against Racism,” painted by Kate Henderson and her daughter, Abby. Placards read “Make Racism Out of Character with The Neighbourhood,” “Defund the Delta PD” and “Racist Cop Violence and Killings Must Stop.”
Henderson, a volunteer at the event, said, “As a woman of colour who experienced racism in Delta, it is heartwarming to see people from throughout the community come together like this.”
In Tsawwassen, protesters gathered at Dennison Park and marched through downtown streets.
Co-organizer Brenda Peche-Moy’s sign gave voice to their demands: “Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Matter/Freedom, Justice, Equality.”
Prominent signs in all three locations expressed support for Richmond teacher Kiran Sidhu, the woman who was allegedly sprayed in the face with a garden hose by Lorraine Dubord, wife of DPD chief Neil Dubord, outside the couple’s Centennial Beach home in June.
The Tsawwassen marchers chanted: “Who’s beach? Our beach! Who’s rocks? Our rocks! Who’s town? Our town! Who’s country, Our country!”
Pech-Moy explained, “The last line refers to the several cases of racist attacks in which people of colour like myself are told to go back to our country or to where we come from.”
Twelve-year-old Akaash, who attended the North Delta rally with his 16-year-old brother Abbish, said he was hopeful for the future.
“If we get more people our age involved, then our generation will grow up and pass it to the next generation. That’s the way we can stop racism.”
For more information on Delta Stands Against Racism, visit the group’s Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— with a file from James Smith