KITCHENER -- A town hall meeting on Thursday night allowed residents to share stories of racism in Waterloo Region.

Delegates spoke to the region about issues they believe need to be addressed.

People were also encouraged to share their personal experiences at the virtual forum.

"In Waterloo Region, people have shouted 'Build the wall' at me while I'm in the street," Kitchener resident Samantha Estoesta said. "I'm regularly asked what my babysitting rate is when I'm out, as they assume I'm a nanny."

Estoesta's story was one of many shared, which were raw and emotional.

"The police were searching for drugs. They pulled my two children out of their school, out of their classroom, searched their bags, searched their lockers, searched their person, because, of course, two little Black girls from Jamaica must absolutely be involved in the drug trade," Cambridge resident Marjorie Knight said. "I cannot begin to tell you the impact this had on my children."

Some delegates urged the region to work with organizations run by Black, Indigenous and people of colour. They also asked the region to explore changes to areas like transit, public health, policing and administration.

"I hope you're relaying substantive solutions over displays of empathy that allow you to position yourselves as performative allies," said Ruth Cameron with the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area. "There's an urgency to our requests and the time is now.”

Another town hall is scheduled for Friday morning.