Organizers and attendees with signs. Photos Elaina John
On Thursday, June 18 individuals gathered at the Vermilion pollinator garden to “Educate themselves and others about the racism in Vermilion and surrounding areas,” as explained by Vermilion local Brad Gallamore, organizer of the event. The event began with a brief introduction from Gallamore and Tigra-Lee Campbell, who stated; “We are here as a call to action that systemic racism is alive and well and we need to do something about it.... We are here to demand that the Government of Canada take action and dismantle the systems that keep minorities oppressed....” Many attendees including Campbell were invited to share their experience with racism and marginalization throughout their lives. Various other attendees shared their experiences as well as suggestions about how to cope with racism and combat racist remarks. “People need to open and see that... (racism) is everywhere,” attendee Cheyenne Brookwell urges, as she shared her experience with racism which included her mother being a part of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women registry. Brookwell and her siblings were put into the foster care system and adopted after their mother’s tragic death. “A human being cannot choose their colour,” comments Terang Bangun, who immigrated from Indonesia to Canada and expressed fascination and great concern for the multiple incidents involving racism around the world, including the murder of George Floyd. “The fear and the reality of racism is alive in the hearts of people of colour, and this is a message that we need to learn the history of so that we’re equipped to have those discussions across our tables,” stated attendee Kevin John. Gallamore plans on continuing to hold similar gatherings, as he coordinates to have more people speak on the issue and raise awareness.