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STORIFY: Vancouverites rally in support of Ferguson protests

An emergency gathering was organized in response to the Ferguson ruling on Nov. 24 (Photo by Nich Johansen)

Reported by Nich Johansen

The heavy rain could not dampen the candles or the spirits of those gathered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery to show their support for the people of Ferguson, Mo. on Tuesday.

Approximately 100 people gathered at the corner of Robson and Hornby to show their solidarity with protesters in Ferguson and abroad who have been the victims of police violence.

A response to the protests around the Ferguson ruling

There were large peaceful demonstrations across many major cities in the United States, with rioting in some parts of Ferguson on Monday night in response to a grand jury decision not to press criminal charges against officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on Aug. 9, 2014.

The event began with words of solidarity from the two organizers, Sunny Chui and Ely Levitt. This was followed by a four-and-a-half minute moment of silence from the crowd, which represented the four-and-a-half hours that Brown’s body was left in the street.

The floor was then opened up to anyone who wished to talk. A number of people of all races, genders and ages spoke during the demonstration.

Khalil Equiano, an African-American man from Seattle, Wash., was one speaker. He said he was initially frightened by the jury’s decision.

“They’re legally saying it’s okay to kill you,” he said. “I remember sitting up last night thinking I probably won’t make it to 2016, if it’s legal they’re just going to shoot us in the street and I hated that feeling.”

“I found out there was going to be a rally here and there’s going to be other people that felt that as a species, I count, and I wanted to be somewhere where those people were because I’m tired of feeling like that,” Equiano continued. “And I’m not willing to stay that way.”

Many people spoke of the problem of institutional racism in our culture and the need for changing attitudes throughout society.

Photos by Nich Johansen

A video featuring a speech about the Ferguson trial. Video by Nich Johansen

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