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Thousands march in Collingwood for Black Lives Matter (VIDEO)

The youth-organized rally overtook the main street as the anti-racism protesters called for equality, justice and change

At least two thousand people overtook Hurontario Street outside of Collingwood Town Hall today for a Black Lives Matter protest organized by Collingwood youth. 

People began to gather at noon today lining the sidewalks and filling the small courtyard by the town hall. 

Trinity Stephens, 19, from Wasaga Beach addressed the crowd as it gathered. 

"I have felt so alone," she said. "I thought I was alone ... it makes me want to cry seeing everyone around me. It's touching." 

As a child in the area, she was teased and mocked for being black. People used to make derogatory remarks about her black hair, but now she wears it down. 

"They degraded me and my hair, which I have now grown to love," said Stephens, a graduate of Jean Vanier Catholic High School.

She said she still often feels unsafe and checks her surroundings looking out for things or situations that might go wrong. If they do, she wants to leave quickly. 

"Something could go wrong really fast for me more than others," she said. "I would be a suspect because of the colour of my skin ...  It took me a long time to realize that my skin is beautiful."  

She challenged people to take a step forward and say no to racism, and to confront the subconscious racism people have engrained within themselves. 

Marcia Alderson also addressed the crowd to tell the story of her Jamaican mother whose offer for a house was turned down because of her skin colour. Her father and mother met (he was a Realtor) through the process and took the builder to the Human Rights Commission over their racism. 

"One person standing up makes a change," said Alderson. "I'm here fighting the same damn cause 60 years later." 

Soon after speeches ended, the crowd took to Hurontario Street, filling an entire block and marching toward Fourth Street and back again. They changed "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace." 

Today's rally was organized by Collingwood Collegiate Institute students.

There will be another Black Lives Matter demonstration in Collingwood, a march from town hall to Awen Gathering circle, on Sunday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. 

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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