“When your kid does something bad you don’t ignore it, you try to correct them and help them be better, so that’s basically what we’re trying to do.”
This is how Husoni Raymond, one of the organizers of the Fredericton protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, metaphorized his views.
The protest was held in Fredericton on June 2nd and came together quickly, with planning beginning just the day before. Raymond partnered with the New Brunswick African Association, and the team contacted the city to gain access to electricity for the speakers and began to plan their route.
Raymond explained that they were “surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of people that showed up in less than 24 hours.”
The event also garnered support from members of the community, and groups such as No One Is Illegal Fredericton and CUPE, who reached out to offer help in the form of masks, hand sanitizer, and other provisions.
Raymond, coming from Kingston, Jamaica, said that he “didn’t expect to experience any racism” when moving to Canada to attend St.Thomas University.
People were surprised that he didn’t “fit the stereotypical narrative of [how a] black man is supposed to talk and dress,” and he was met with racial prejudice and slurs.
“That motivated me to really push forward with these initiatives, starting on campus with talking about the importance of Black History Month and educating people about racial bias, racial stereotypes, and systemic oppression. I think those conversations are important for us to actually acknowledge the problem and then move forward to finding solutions.”
“If people took the personal responsibility to educate themselves on these issues, then I think people will be more conscious of their inherent biases,” said Raymond. He stressed that these biases derive from the society we live in.
“Once you are knowledgeable about these issues, then you can help by educating your older family members who might not know how to use Google, or might not be too interested, but they make some racist remarks. Using that knowledge and that privilege to address those – I think that’s the one way in which we will move forward as a community.”
Raymond stressed that the momentum must continue, stating that we must “look at other ways in which anti-blackness affects the lives of people of color. Police brutality is just one way in which racism manifests itself.”
The group has made a petition containing calls to action for the City of Fredericton and the New Brunswick Government. The link to sign can be found here.
The Brunswickan stands in solidarity with the protesters and activists around the world fighting police brutality and systematic abuse toward Black and Indigenous communities and pledges action supporting the movement.