Cowichan Valley

Duncan’s Black Lives Matter rally, in photos

People gathered to oppose racism and violence and call for unity and peace.

On Friday, a few hundred people gathered in Charles Hoey Park in Duncan for a rally in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The world erupted in protests in recent weeks, sparked after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled for eight minutes on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, killing him.

The event in Duncan was the brainchild of Antonio Diaz, who launched a Facebook group to spread the word. The Cowichan Intercultural Society helped organize the rally and march with support from many groups and individuals, including the Mask The Valley project.

Video of the rally is available on Facebook, here and here. The Discourse Cowichan took photos at the event. Here are some of our favourites. 

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Many people brought or made signs in support of Black Lives Matter.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

“White guilt serves no one. We need allyship.”

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Local Grade 8 student Avalayne insisted that her dad bring her to the rally.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Passing cars honked in support of the protest.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Morné Van Niekerk, with the Cowichan Intercultural Society, hosted the rally.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Around the world, Black Lives Matter protests have called to defund police services.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Glaucia Desrochers led the crowd in a song. “We share a dream, and sing with one voice,” Glaucia sang. “I am, you are, we all are human.”

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who killed Black teen Trayvon Martin. There’s an official chapter in Vancouver

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Cowichan Tribes Elder Qwiahwultuhw (Robert George) leads the crowd in a unity song.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Monica Patsy Jones stands with her granddaughter. Monica spoke to injustices at the hands of police against local Indigenous people, and to cases of missing and murdered people that remain unsolved. 

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

The Duncan event focused on calls to end racism and violence against Black and Indigenous people.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Stephen Najera, who grew up in Lake Cowichan, said his life experience is proof that racism is a problem here in Cowichan.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

On the back of his shirt, Stephen Najera wrote slurs that people would call him behind his back.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Jayson Williams, a staff member at Shawnigan Lake School, shared lessons from the racist history of his home country of South Africa.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

Many people wore masks to limit the potential risks of spreading the coronavirus. Speakers and signs at the event suggested that racism is a pandemic, too.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

A raised fist symbolizes solidarity and support.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

DJ D Fresh and Ali Austin performed reggae songs for the crowd.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

After the rally, some of the crowd marched down the train tracks.

BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.
BLM Black Lives Matter protest rally march in Duncan.

“End the violence.”


Editors’s note, June 13, 2020: A previous version of this article suggested that the Mask The Valley project was a lead organizer of this event. It acted in a supporting role.