Nearly a thousand rally against racism

Students, administration, and community members march through campus to support Indigenous and LGBTQ+ students

Supporters stop outside of Richardson Hall during the Oct. 18 rally.

A week after a racist and homophobic note was found on the door of a fourth-floor common room in Chown Hall, nearly a thousand students, faculty and staff rallied to condemn it.

On Oct. 18, streets on campus were filled with students, University administration, and community members. Marching to support Indigenous and LGBTQ+ students, the rally was hosted by Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre.
 
A police officer at the rally said close to 1,000 people were in attendance.
 
Before the march began, supporters gathered at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre to hear speeches from students and members of the Queen’s administration, including Ann Tierney,vice-provost and dean of student affairs.

“It was uplifting to see so many members of the Queen’s community attend the students’ march on Friday, and stand up to the vile, hateful, racist, violent and homophobic sentiments expressed in the poster placed in Queen’s residence,” Janice Hill, director of Four Directions, wrote in a statement.

“We came together to support the right of our collective peoples, Indigenous, Queer, Trans*, Racialized people, and Allies, to be our authentic selves and to take up space and belonging in this institution,” Hill added.
 
The Kingston Police were invited by the march’s organizers to escort the procession through campus. 
 
The march came to a halt twice over the duration. The first time in front of Richardson Hall, the location of Principal Patrick Deane’s office, where an Indigenous song was performed. 
 
The second time was in front of Chown Hall where the violent note was posted. All photography and videography were asked to stop as a sacred Indigenous song was performed for students on the fourth floor who were affected by the racist and homophobic note. 
 
Mark Erdman, Queen's community relations and issues manager, told The Journal Deane couldn’t attend the rally because he was out of the province on pre-planned business. 
 
“I believe most, if not all, of the senior administration that was on campus attended the event to demonstrate their support,” Erdman wrote. 
 
To encourage staff participation, the AMS closed its offices early at 1:30 p.m. on the day of the rally. 
 
“Since it’s so fresh, we haven’t had time to come up with a direct plan of action.” Will Greene, AMS vice-president (University Affairs) said in an interview during the march.
 
He added the AMS has reached out to clubs at Queen’s in hopes of developing a plan of action informed by the individuals most impacted by the racist and homophobic incident at Chown Hall.
 
“Seeing everyone whether they were in the parade or lining the streets as we walked down was really fulfilling to see. I was very happy,” Jessica Dahanayake, AMS vice-president (operations), told The Journal. “There are some strong voices that came out and I think that as a community, it makes those voices stronger.” 
 
“Seeing everyone march hopefully sends a message that Queen’s doesn’t tolerate hate, racism, or bigotry,” AMS President Auston Pierce added.
 

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