Roses and carnations were in the hands of Langley teenagers on Friday afternoon, passed out to anyone who would accept one while walking by the Walnut Grove skate park.
Alexander Savage, a 22-year-old Langley resident, decided to hold the gathering after taking inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement.
Savage said he attended the first protest in Vancouver, but felt he needed to do something locally.
“I’ve seen a lot of injustice and been part of it,” Savage told the Langley Advance Times. “I’ve seen racial things happen and have had them happen to me in Walnut Grove.”
A dual citizen who also holds a U.S. passport – Savage said his idea was not to focus on the protest, rioting, and looting aspects that he felt he was seeing too much of south of the border, but specifically to talk about the justice and meaning of movement.
The protests in the U.S. were sparked by video of the death of George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Arrested for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill, Floyd was handcuffed and died while a police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
The incident has led to protests across the United States and in many other countries, including Canada, over excessive use of force by police and systemic racism.
“We wanted to talk to people, because the best thing to do is talk,” Savage explained. “Changing people little by little with knowledge and conversation.”
Fifteen to 20 people – most of them students of Walnut Grove Secondary – saw Savage’s Facebook post and came to show support between 1 and 5 p.m on June 5.
“It was a way to show how angry we are that people don’t understand,” he assured. “All some see is darkness and we just want to share the light.”
He noted that hand sanitizer and gloves were brought to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Some people were open to talking, others purposely avoided the group and actually walked on to the road to bypass us,” he said.
When the afternoon had passed, Savage felt more people came out than he expected and wouldn’t have been able to do it without support.
“I just felt like a regular person at the skate park with a group of friends,” he added.
Savage said he hopes to pass out flowers again next Friday, June 19 and people can follow him at Asavage333 on Instagram for updates.
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