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Oakville Black Lives Matter march: New Location

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Oakville Black Lives Matter march: New Location
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Kim Arnott

Kim Arnott

Kim Arnott is a graduate of McMaster University and Sheridan College’s journalism program, her reporting has appeared in dozens of daily and community newspapers, magazines and specialty publications over the last two decades.

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Update: A New Starting Location for the Oakville Black Lives Matter March. The new starting location is:  Oakville Public Library – Central Branch -Parking Lot which is located off Water Street. See Map Below.

Black Lives Matter March

Black Live Matter Oakville March takes place on Thursday, June 3rd starting at Oakville Public Library – Central Branch’s Parking Lot off Navy Street starting at 3:00 PM. Click Map for a larger image © OpenStreetMap contributors CC BY-SA

Original Post:  June 3 2020

Oakville’s young people will gather for a Black Lives Matter march at 3 pm on Thursday, as they join the wave of protest and outrage that has swept the world following last week’s death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The march will begin at Oakville Trafalgar high school and head toward downtown, stopping near Chartwell Road.

Karman Mangat, a 19-year-old local resident and university student, plans to participate.

“Oakville is a perfect example of a society where there is a lot of ignorance and people fail to realize the amount of racism that people of colour face,” he told Oakville News.

“Just last night, adult members of my community Facebook group (Joshua Creek) chose to make rather ignorant comments surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and how all lives should matter, not just black lives.”

A New Location in Downtown Oakville has been arranged

The march is one of a number of local responses to the May 25 death of Floyd, an African-American man who died after police handcuffed and restrained him by kneeling on his neck.

Top officers of the Halton Regional Police responded to the death by condemning the actions of the Minneapolis police in a statement released on Twitter.

“George Floyd’s death makes us angry, and it makes us sad. It was unnecessary, and it was criminal,” says the letter signed by Chief Stephen Tanner and his deputy chiefs Roger Wilkie and Jeff Hill.

The statement adds that the Halton police service is “committed to embracing differences and celebrating diversity” and has recently become Canada’s first service to introduce virtual reality empathy-based training for officers.

“This innovative de-escalation training teaches our officers to view interactions through someone else’s perspective, slow down encounters with individuals in crisis, facilitate respectful communication and ultimately, increase public trust,” it says.

Oakville resident and former NDP candidate Che Marville believes training in compassion and empathy is essential for police forces.

Oakville resident Che Marville Black Lives Matter

Oakville resident Che Marville

She isn’t surprised by the response to Floyd’s death, noting that the situation resonates with the experience of brown and Black people who have been judged by the colour of their skin in their interactions with the police.

“People see themselves in the experience that’s happening in the United States,” said the meditation teacher and founder of the Oakville Sangha Centre for Wellbeing. “When you see what’s happening, you know it to be true.”

While she believes Halton Police have been working on issues of diversity, Marville adds that police forces everywhere need to be policing themselves for racism.

“They need to look inward deeply,” she says. “It’s not the big events where people are smiling that you need them to be fair and just. It’s in the moment of crisis that you need them to be fair and just.”

The Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) says that Halton’s police service continues to make “a concerted effort to mitigate bias, discrimination and racism amongst its ranks,” but that recent events have reminded the community of the continued existence of anti-Black racism in both Canada and the United States.

“We stand in solidarity with families, friends and the global community who are outraged about these persistent issues affecting Black people. We are saddened. We are weary. But we will keep hope alive that there is a brighter day ahead of us,” says a statement released by the association.

“It is not just the work of the police. It is the work of our society to be more compassionate and thoughtful.”

The CCAH is hosting a virtual Town Hall meeting via Zoom at 7 pm on June 17, to discuss issues impacting Black community members.

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