Photo: flickr/Mike Licht

Halifax, Hands Up, a rally in solidarity with Ferguson protesters was held this Tuesday in downtown Halifax. It was about much more than the police killing of an unarmed black young man and subsequent police violence in faraway Missouri.

The rally was just as much about Nova Scotia, spoken word artist and teacher El Jones told the Halifax Media Co-op. Jones is one of the organizers of the event.

“Systemic violence does not just take place in one part of the globe, it is part of a 500-year history of violence against African people everywhere,” said Jones.

“I have been in court while the police openly admitted that they committed brutality against black people,” she said.

“We may not have had any police shootings here, but cases such as [former boxer] Kirk Johnson taking the police to court because he got pulled over so many times are all too common.”

And police shootings are only one of the ways systemic violence manifests, Jones said. “Police shooting may be the most shocking, but certainly gentrification, the closing of schools in our neighborhood, housing issues, all these are part of the same thing.”

Coming out to the rally is important, Jones believes.

It is important to stand in solidarity with the most marginalized people, who are especially vulnerable to police surveillance and state violence, she said.

But Jones believes the rally is only the beginning.

“I don’t see the rally as as an end point, I see it as a starting point. It’s the beginning point in getting organized, in bringing to the community the connections that people may not have made between what’s going on in Ferguson and what is happening in their own communities,” said Jones.

“The state is organized. So we need to get organized. That’s a big reason to come.”

Ed. note: rallies are being held across Canada in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. 

This piece was originally published at Halifax Media Co-op, and is reprinted with permission.