Halifax to rally around Ferguson: Speeches, march to raise awareness around racism

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - Bringing the racial issues from Ferguson, Missouri, home to Halifax can hopefully break people out of their “bubble,” said Dalhousie University student Ntombi Nkiwane.

Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, his son, Michael Brown, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo.

Nkiwane, 19, and Halifax’s poet laureate El Jones are organizing a rally in solidarity with those in Ferguson. Riots and clashes with police are continuing in the St.Louis suburb, more than a week after black teen Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer, igniting racial tensions in the area.

“So many people are racially profiled,” said Nkiwane on Sunday, who is originally from South Africa.

“It definitely comes back home to Halifax and that’s the point … we’re not just looking at America, we’re looking at Canada and the rest of the world.”

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nkiwane said they are gathering in Victoria Park to hear a few speeches before marching downtown to the U.S. Consulate for more poetry and discussion around racism inherent in policing and other aspects of society.

Although Nkiwane said many block out racism when they see or experience it, which used to be a “survival tactic” during slavery, people need to be aware of the conditions they’re in.

“Not live in a bubble. They need to be aware … in order to be able to strategically plan and to be able to protect themselves.”

A long-term goal of the rally is to plan for the future and how to improve Halifax, Nkiwane said, with acts ranging from small groups of people educating others, to creating an app like Cop Watch from Toronto which helps users record police interactions.

While people have the right to be emotional in situations like Ferguson, Nkiwane said violent protests never solve anything.

“[They] are knee-jerk reactions,” Nkiwane said. “That’s not going to solve systemic injustice. I think people need to first of all be educated, then they need to get together and organize and … plan, and carry out being self-sufficient in order to stop this from happening.”

Organizations: U.S. Consulate

Geographic location: Halifax, St.Louis, South Africa America Canada Victoria Park Toronto

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  • Wayne
    August 18, 2014 - 09:09

    This rally will not help anything. There is a saying 'Let Sleeping Dogs Lie' - that says it all. Interesting the organizer is from South Africa - how about U start there first

    • Doug P.
      August 18, 2014 - 11:30

      If one drills down to the core of this issue, it has nothing to do with race at all. The issue is that we have a gang of thugs that have a monopoly to exercise violence on all other people who are now armed with military level training and weapons. Needless to say they are chomping at the bit to use them on "civilians" as is the case here. Out of control governments have always grown cancerous and eventually start to devour their own populace. The question the police and government do not want you to ask is why they are armed for a domestic war? With who? Its for damn sure not for terrorists. Instead the easy scape goat and convenient distraction is race based. I can not tell the difference between pictures of troops in Iraq and those on the streets of Missouri. That should scare the wits out of the American people. Its kind of like that scene in every horror movie where the victim realizes the killer is some one they know and trust then its too late.

    • SM
      August 20, 2014 - 12:34

      Come on Wayne! We all know that there is absolutely no racism in Africa! Rwanda, Zimbabwa...move along, nothin' to see here folks.