Vancouver Stand Up to Racism attendees express views on discrimination, immigration, and more
Vancouverites made their opinions known about the subjects of racism, Islam, and a number of other subjects at the Stand Up To Racism rally held at Vancouver City Hall today (August 19).
Attendees showed up with a variety of signs, some dressing up in costume, others bringing musical instruments or noisemakers.
While a range of speakers delivered speeches on the south side of city hall, confrontations developed on the north side between anti-Muslim and anti-immigration demonstrators and counterprotesters.
On the north side of the building, Sonya Wachowski, who is a member of the Unitarian Church North Shore, stood with heart-shaped balloons as she monitored arguments between an anti-Muslim demonstrator and counterprotesters.
"I'm so excited and happy to see the response of Vancouver," she told the Georgia Straight. "I'm heartened there's so many different groups here: young, old, unions, BCTF, the average folk, Black Lives Matter."
However, she was concerned about the individuals who were expressing Islamophobic and anti-immigrant views. She said it's too easy to blame others who appear to be different and emphasized that we're all immigrants except for First Nations people.
"He's not in dialogue right now," she said of a man who was arguing with counterprotesters. "If he was truly interested in hearing what they had to say, he would go to a mosque or speak with an imam. He's only here to try and spread hate, and I don't think you can fight hate with hate."
Instead, she was trying to spread a message of love.
"The last thing I want to see is violence because [then] they've won," she said.
Meanwhile, Kelty McLoughlin, who carried a sign that stated "I'm here, I'm gay, I'll fight the KKK", said she moved to Vancouver from Texas two years ago.
"I am very glad I got when out when I did," she said, referring to Donald Trump becoming the president of the United States after she left.
However, she has felt dismayed by what she has seen in the wake of Trump's election and how it has affected what is happening north of the 49th parallel.
"I was expecting to not have racists when I moved here so it feels uncomfortably close to home to have racists in Canada and I think we should be through with this," she said. "I think we should be done but it's not. I'm speechless knowing that there are still Nazis."
Attendees expressed a range of views by carrying signs, and here's a sample of them, spanning the range from the peaceful and hilarious to the aggressive and foul-mouthed.