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'No to white supremacy, yes to humanity': Demonstrators gather in Toronto to protest racism

Metro's K. Omar joined the hundreds of demonstrators at the Queen's Park rally for a special edition of her Humans of Toronto photo project.

Hundreds gather for a Unity Rally to End White Supremacy in Toronto with a march from Queen's Park through to Yonge Street in Smiths Falls.

Steve Russell/Torstar News Service

Hundreds gather for a Unity Rally to End White Supremacy in Toronto with a march from Queen's Park through to Yonge Street in Smiths Falls.

TORONTO — Hundreds of people gathered at the Ontario legislature Sunday for a rally to protest racism.

The demonstrators braved heavy rains to speak out against white supremacy and the far right.

After hearing speeches the protesters held a march.

Rally organizer Jeewan Chanicka told the crowd there is no doubt that white supremacist sentiments are alive in Canada.

Chanicka told the crowd that no one can be free until everyone is free.

“No to white supremacy, yes to humanity. It’s all of us or none of us,” Chanicka told the demonstrators.

Graham Jordan commuted from Whitby, Ontario to stand alongside his community. He said he had to come to the rally to stand up to white supremacists.

“These are the people who believe they are superior to anyone of colour...to have a society built like that, you have massive issues and problems,” Jordan said.

Though rallies and other demonstrations alike bring about fast change Jordan said, the attitude among him and others was about sparking a national conversation in order to bring more.

There have been numerous anti-racism protests in Canada and the U.S. in the wake of a clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va. over the summer.  A woman was killed when a car drove into a crowd demonstrating the white nationalists.

Humans of Toronto: Rally edition

K. Omar was at Sunday's rally as part of her Humans of Toronto project. Here are some of the people she caught up with...

K. Omar

"I lived in the States for seven years, and I was there for 9/11. I saw what happened around that time, the marginalization of Muslims, and I saw the alt-right, the neo-Nazis and the racist white underbelly of the country sort of rising to the top. I left there and came back home because of it. To see there are sprouts of it popping up in our community, we have to stamp it out now.”

“I think that it is a very positive step in the right direction for our city and our country to see people naming white supremacy for what it is. People of many different cultures are coming together, and, for me specifically, to see white people doing this work is what is meant by allyship. It is action.

K. Omar

“I think that it is a very positive step in the right direction for our city and our country to see people naming white supremacy for what it is. People of many different cultures are coming together, and, for me specifically, to see white people doing this work is what is meant by allyship. It is action."

K. Omar

"I'm here because I believe it is my responsibility to use my voice in whatever way I can. I am a woman whose 1950 birth certificate from North Carolina says that she was born a 'negro' and who would've thought that I'd be here almost 70 years later? We should all live our lives with safety, dignity, self-respect and respect from those around us. To do all that and stay safe means a lot of things that can encompass racism, sexism and however many ‘isms’ one can name.”

“For me, my personal safety bubble is already at risk on a daily basis. Being Black and being Muslim, it’s already at risk from a lot of different factors, so I thought I’d do something about that. Yes, it might be dangerous sometimes, but it will take a long time for things to change and I want to do something so that it is not like that for my future kids and their kids.”

K. Omar

“For me, my personal safety bubble is already at risk on a daily basis. Being Black and being Muslim, it’s already at risk from a lot of different factors, so I thought I’d do something about that. Yes, it might be dangerous sometimes, but it will take a long time for things to change and I want to do something so that it is not like that for my future kids and their kids.”

K. Omar

"This solidifies that Toronto is a place that will never welcome hate and will never create a safe haven for people who propagate white supremacy. I think the second biggest win from today is that we actually did spark a national conversation about white supremacy. We had a lot of media, and we had a lot of important folks from different communities here to really a diverse voice and a diversely unified front against white supremacy, which was essentially our objective."

K. Omar

"I believe in human rights, equity and equality. Obviously with everything that is going on in the US, internationally, and here in Canada, this is something that we really need. It’s one thing to talk about creating equity and a better world, but it is another thing to be present and to show that we are a collective force. We need to come together and demonstrate that we are not tolerating what’s going on. If we are silent and we are not out in the streets, that’s just taken as us consenting to this kind of behaviour and the actions that follow.”

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