Hundreds gather for Black Lives Matter vigil in Skeleton Park

Nearly $3,000 raised for protest bail funds

Image by: Jodie Grieve
Hundreds gathered in Skeleton park to mourn victims of police brutality.

Hundreds gathered in Skeleton Park on Tuesday evening to mourn lives lost to police brutality. 

The Black Luck Collective (BLC), a community group for Black Kingstonians, organized the vigil to support the Black Lives Matter movement and take up physical space to grieve for victims of racialized violence. Many participants in the vigil carried signs displaying messages like “No justice, no peace” and “I am not a threat.”

Masks were provided to those who did not have one so the vigil could be held in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.

“My heart pleads,” one speaker, who preferred not to be named, said. “The words that I want to say, the words that I want to scream, do not come. But my heart pleads, and I am sure countless other hearts plead.”

George Floyd, a 45-year-old black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking international outrage and protests across the continent. On May 27, 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet fell from her balcony while Toronto police were in her apartment, leading to allegations that officers caused the fatal fall. 

“We are here to mourn the lives lost as a result of police brutality and white supremacy,” the speaker said. “We are here to physically take up space in our grieving. Too often, we are asking, nay told, nay demanded, to shrink our pain. To shrink our lives.”

The BLC also read out the names* of Black, Indigenous, and racialized people who have lost their lives in connection to police brutality in Canada since 1978.

They said the list of names was taken from journalist Desmond Cole’s article ‘Remembering Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Colour killed by Canadian Police’ and the Ontario Human Rights Council’s timeline of racial discrimination and racial profiling of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service.

The BLC also encouraged the crowd to donate any cash they had on them to a bail fund for protesters in Toronto and Montreal. In a follow-up post on the Collective’s Facebook page, the BLC stated it raised $2,868.

“I must stress to all the non-Black people in this park out here: this cannot be all,” one of the speakers said. “Every day, we have to contend with anti-Blackness. What are you doing about it? Not just today, not just tomorrow, but every day?”

The BLC announced a virtual town hall will be taking place on Friday at 2 p.m. to discuss race in Kingston. Details about the event can be found on the BLC Facebook page.

“Hopefully, you will continue or start noticing how race is implicated, remain energized in confronting and dismantling anti-Black racism,” one of the speakers said. “Start holding the City, its institutions, and its services accountable.”

Triahas Datta, a participant in the vigil, told The Journal he was attending to support a good cause.

“Everyone should be equal in the world,” he said. “No one should be higher, no one should be lower. Everyone being here is a step in the right direction.”

Tridib Datta, another vigil participant, told The Journal he was happy with the vigil’s turnout.

“I’m happy with the outcome that we had today. I’m happy that whoever came here is out supporting a good cause and I’m happy that we kept it controlled and people respected it. It should never have come to a black man dying for us to come out like this.”

He said, however, it’s upsetting that it’s taking so much time for change to be made. “But at least change is being made slowly, so I’m glad that something is happening.” 

*The following is the list of names the Black Luck Collective recited at the vigil:

• Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29

• Jason Collins, 36

• Eishia Hudson, 16

• D’Andre Campbell, 26

• Randy Cochrane, 30

• Sean Thompson, 30

• Machuar Madut, 43

• Greg Ritchie, 30

• Chad Williams, 26

• Jaskamal Singh Lail, 25

• Nicholas Gibbs, 23

• Olando Brown, 32

• Josephine Pelletier, 33

• Brydon Whitstone, 22

• Pierre Coriolan, 58

• Abdirahman Abdi, 37

• Bony Jean-Pierre, 46

• Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21

• Andrew Loku, 45

• Abdurahman Ibrahim Hassan, 39

• René Gallant, 45

• Marc Ekamba-Boekwa, 22

• Phuong Na (Tony) Du, 51

• Jermaine Carby, 33

• Nicholas Thorne-Belance, 5

• Alain Magloire, 41

• Ian Pryce, 30

• Sammy Yatim, 18

• Andrew “Buddy” Evans, 24

• Albert Johnson, 35

• Michael Sargeant (1979)

• Leander Savoury (1985)

• Lester Donaldson, 44

• Raymond Lawrence, 22

• Ian Coley (1993)

• Albert Moses, 41

• Tommy Anthony Barnett, 22

• Andrew Bramwell, 24

• Henry Musaka, 26

• Alexander Manon, 18

• Reyal Jensen Jardine-Douglas, 25

• Eric Osawe, 26

• Michael Eligon, 29

• Frank Anthony Berry, 48

• Alexander Wetlaufer, 21


Black Lives Matter, black students, police brutality, race

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