If you’re going to break our current rules about large public gatherings, a march to protest ongoing systemic racism and the tragedies it brings is certainly a worthy reason to do it. But please, try to remember that those gathering rules don’t exist just because. They’re meant to protect us, because we’re still in the midst of one of the most serious, constantly evolving health situations that many of us has ever experienced. A cause this important leading to more illness and death would be yet another tragedy, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting that. So be careful out there. Distance if you can (if the crowd is as large as it deserves to be you probably can’t), and absolutely wear a mask if that’s not possible.
And a note to our local officials: Please stay good to your word and don’t ticket these people. They have a right and a reason to be out there as long as they stay peaceful. Be there to listen to them, to protect them, maybe even to stand with them. Don’t be there to shut their voices down unless it somehow becomes a matter of absolute last resort.
Regional officials are concerned about the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 at a march planned in downtown Kitchener in solidarity with Black communities across North America.
“Such large gatherings are high risk, so I am worried,” said acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang at Tuesday’s regional briefing.
Regional Chair Karen Redman said people have the right to peaceful protests, but there are “huge concerns” about a demonstration that’s expected to draw thousands to Victoria Park on Wednesday evening.
“It’s very, very concerning in a time of pandemic,” Redman said. “We really worry about a second wave coming with this massive numbers of people gathering.”
Redman encouraged people to instead show their support virtually.
“There is an opportunity to participate online and we would encourage people to voice their support in solidarity of these issues by joining online rather than deciding to come in person,” she said.
The article helpfully doesn’t include instructions for doing that should anyone like to, so I will.
You can view a livestream and get all sorts of other information on how you can help on this Black Lives Matter Waterloo Region facebook event page.
Good luck to everyone tonight and again, stay safe.