Calgarians with masks on packed Olympic Plaza for a Black Lives Matter vigil on Saturday, making their voices heard on abolishing racism and police brutality.
The rally was in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.
At least 4,000 people attended Calgary’s rally, according to police.
“Togetherness is everything,” said Philip Neilson with BLM Calgary.
“Just to have all these Caucasians, East Indians, people from different races, Spanish, come together and support Black lives is incredible. Calgary stepped up and we stepped up well.”
Organizers said the event was about humanizing those who have been brutalized, so they are not only remembered for their deaths but also their lives.
Hosts read aloud names of people who have died because of police brutality and the massive crowd repeated them back. They also spoke of what the victims accomplished in their lives.
Neilson said their names have been forgotten.
“It’s important that people know their names, know their stories and know what happened as part of the injustice. It starts from the top down. Everybody must know,” he said.
He wants people to understand that systemic racism is real.
“It’s not an American problem, it’s a worldwide issue and we need to all talk about it. Talking about it is the most important thing we can do and it must continue,” he said.
People chanted “Black lives matter” and some wore shirts that said, “Being Black is not a crime.”