GUELPH -- Thousands of people took to the streets in Guelph for a peaceful protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Saturday march began at city hall as demonstrators came from across Southwestern Ontario to share a passionate message.

“Black lives matter,” said organizer Kayla Gerber. “This is our time to stand up during a second civil rights movement.

“Today is about all of the lives we lost, from Regis, to DeAndre Campbell, to George Floyd, but also for the lives that we are living right now. We are fighting so we don’t have this again.”

Brantford resident Tracy Cain says she’s thinking of her four boys as she rallies.

“This whole thing, it hits home a lot more with what’s going on,” she said. “I’m here to make sure that everybody knows it can be better.

“My parents raised me to say life isn’t always fair and that is how it is. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to say that to my boys, but unfortunately we are still here.”

The march that went by the Guelph Police station featured chanting of “no justice no peace” as well as other messages against anti-black racism.

“There’s been a lot of oppressions against them based on something like their skin tone,” said protester Amber Dsilva. “I do not that’s fair.”

Writing on signs ranged from phrases like “not trying to start a race war…trying to end one” and “black is not a crime.”

Demonstrators were also pushing for more funds to black organizations and diversity programs.

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie says he was asked to not attend the event to ensure that he amplifies the voices of people who have experienced hate first hand.

He adds that he stands in solidarity against racism and injustice.