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Black Lives Matter rally held in New Glasgow

Zack Walker and Lily Whistler took part in a Black Lives Matter rally in New Glasgow on Monday.
Zack Walker and Lily Whistler took part in a Black Lives Matter rally in New Glasgow on Monday. - Adam MacInnis
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

Jay Reddick knows it’s hard for people who haven’t lived it to know what it’s like to be a black man in Nova Scotia. But he wants them to listen.

“When a black person tells you their experience, listen,” Reddick said. “Validate how they’re feeling and their experience. And don’t tell me I’m wrong because I live it.”

Reddick was one of the participants in a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in New Glasgow on Monday. A similar event had been held in town on Sunday.

Reddick recalls as a 12-year-old being approached by the New Glasgow police on a regular basis when he was out with friends. Police, he says, would stop them, ask their names, their parents names and question what they were doing for apparently no reason.

“They did that all the time.”

Even now, he finds that he’ll frequently have a police car following him while he drives. “Sometimes I literally want to pull over to the side of the road and wave them over and say, ‘Is there a problem?’”

The same type of racism infiltrates other aspects in his life.

“When I’m in a store, I can tell when I’m being looked at sideways or being followed,” he said. “It’s an everyday thing for me.”

So he gets why people are protesting in the states and believes that the racism that seems to be part of policing south of the border is also an issue in police forces in Nova Scotia.

Zack Walker was another participant in Monday’s rally. While he’s not experienced direct racism, he said it is indirectly happening.

“I feel like it’s enough of a problem in the states it could reasonably spread to Canada quite easily and it needs to be stopped before it starts.”

He believes police brutality is a big problem that needs to end and says he just wants everybody to be treated the same.

While there have been some people seemingly angry at the group for protesting, Reddick said they have had a strong show of support from allies who have taken part in the events.

Lily Whistler is one of the allies who took part on Monday.

“I try my hardest to be any ally even though I will never really know the struggle and even though I don’t understand I try to stand beside them,” Whistler said. “I felt it was really important for me to get involved in this. We are the future. This is our world we are growing up in. If we can make it a better place than we definitely should try.”

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