Wilmot Township anti-racism rally in response to 'White Lives Matter' march sees no opposition
BADEN -- Despite being organized in response to an anticipated “White Lives Matter” march, an anti-racism rally in Wilmot Township saw no opposition on Saturday.
Roughly 50 people could be seen at Castle Kilbride around noon with signs that displayed inclusive and anti-racism messages.
Aashay Dalvi, an organizer the rally, was met with a different message at the very same location a year ago.
“They told me I need to go back to my country,” said Dalvi. “Told me I look like a monkey.”
Dalvi and others planned the rally after a poster circulated in Wilmot Township promoting a “White Lives Matter” march scheduled for May 8.
“Oppression continues to exist,” said Dalvi. “The posters are evident of that.”
Karen Redman, the chair of the Region of Waterloo, says the timing for any kind of in-person gathering isn’t right.
“This is during a stay-at-home order,” she said. “We still see a lot of COVID-19 being spread in the community, so that’s a huge concern.”
Organizers of the rally say there were volunteers going around to make sure everyone was properly spaced. There was also a PPE table out for anyone who needed it.
“White supremacy is a public health crisis,” said Dalvi. “It is time we recognized it as it is.”
Some at the rally say it was worth it to show up despite the current COVID-19 restrictions.
“As white people we need to recognize that and stop it out,” one protester tells CTV News.
Redman acknowledges that racism exists in the region, and pointed to the anti-racism advisory committee meant to combat systemic racism.
“It has been community led and continues to inform both policies and practices within the region,” she said.
Waterloo regional police were on site of the rally to monitor and ensure public safety and say that they will work with bylaw on potential charges under the reopening Ontario act.
Police add that the hate crime team is still working to find the people behind the posters.