Black Vancouver's "March in unity" will commemorate Juneteenth today

Jun 19 2020, 8:00 am

A “march in unity,” is being planned for this afternoon in Vancouver.

The march is being organized by Vancouver-based Nova Stevens and Shamika Mitchell, with the full platform support of the Black Vancouver team.

The Juneteenth Vancouver March, on June 19, comes after two Black Lives Matter protests were held in Vancouver in the last few weeks, and another protest was held occupying the viaducts to remember the displacement of those in Hogan’s Alley.

June 19 marks “Juneteenth” – also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day — which is an annual holiday that began in 1865 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

According to the organizers of the march, “many members of the community have advocated for a march in unity; it is not only emotionally expressive but holds immense power, history and tradition, and is a powerful tool to create change and express community values.”

Clement Isanganino, spokesperson for Black Vancouver, says Juneteenth holds significance even in Canada.

“Even though it is an American holiday, we cannot neglect how we all have direct ties that connect us to America,” said Isanganino in an interview with Daily Hive.

“It’s not something where just because it happens in the States, it doesn’t happen in Canada, but I feel like there’s a lot more news and a lot more press [that] makes it to the mainstream media in the states, and we’re all tuned in.”

He says George Floyd’s murder, which took place in the United States, was a catalyst for change across the world.

“It shows also the unity and the solidarity on all fronts, that even though it’s a Black Lives Matter movement, it is a human rights movement, and because of that as well, we all need to come together and just support one another really, worldwide,” he added.

“It is something that does happen here, so we want to educate because we believe that with education, that’s the first step towards bettering the future. Our goal is to better the future so that future generations don’t have to deal with the hardships that we previously or are currently dealing with.”

Isanganino says the movement to address racism and racial injustice must keep going, because the only way to create change is to come together.

“The movement has to keep going, and it can’t stop, because this is the largest racial uproar in human history,” he said.

“The hardships we are currently dealing with right now, it’s something that we just want to see that come to an end, so everyone in the future, when they’re looking back, they understand that we protested and we made a change for the better, so they will never have to experience or feel what it’s like to go through this.”

Even in Canada, the organizers say “we cannot ignore the direct ties that many of our citizens have with our neighbouring Americans below; this makes the celebration of Juneteenth just as important for us as it is for them.”

The Juneteenth Vancouver March will take place at Jack Poole Plaza at 4 pm.

Those joining the march are being asked to wear all black attire.