During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, BC Premier John Horgan said he was “horrified” over the death of George Floyd and encouraged British Columbians to stand against racism.
“Like you, I am horrified to see what happened to George Floyd, I’m horrified when I see the response in major US cities and what I do know, is that although we do our level best to address racism here in British Columbia, it exists here as well,” stated Horgan.
Floyd was a Black American man who died last week after a then-Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. Protests have erupted across the world demanding justice for Floyd and other Black victims of police brutality.
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“Although we do our best to ensure law enforcement treats everyone equally, we have blemishes on our record as well. But what we do in those situations is we try to get better,” said Horgan.
“We can always improve on what we do, whether it be giving police better tools to better understand how to interact with people of different backgrounds.”
Horgan added that BC has had “challenges” with racism, highlighting the Chinese Head Tax, and the Komagata Maru incident.
“Indigenous peoples have experienced racism since the beginning of settlement here in British Columbia,” he stated. “It is imperative that all of us stand together.”
Horgan also addressed the peaceful anti-racism protests that been occurring in BC over the past week.
“In British Columbia, we have a history of peaceful demonstration… I encourage people to have their voices be heard.”
The premier added the importance of following the directions of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry if individuals do choose to attend protests in the future.
“But also please, please abide by the directions that Dr. Henry has put in place. Try to stay a good distance away from your fellow protesters, wear a mask if at all possible. If you’re going to be chanting make sure you’re going to be covering yourself up so you’re not potentially infecting other people.”
Earlier this week, Henry has advised individuals who attended Sunday’s protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 over the next two weeks.