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'It could happen to me’: Saskatoon community reacts to Black Lives Matter rallies and protests around the world
SASKATOON -- Sarah Tut, a refugee from South Sudan who has been living in Saskatoon for the last 10 years, said she felt sick when she saw the video of how George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
“When you see something like that happen to a person that looks like you, all you think about is it could happen to me, it could happen to my kid, it could happen to my husband, it could happen to my brother,” she told CTV News.
Hundreds of rallies and protests have been held across the U.S. and Canada in response to Floyd’s death on May 25.
Tut was one of the roughly 250 people who showed up to a rally in Saskatoon on Saturday.
While she said it’s inspiring to see so many people showing support, she said it’s important to recognize that racism does exist in Canada.
“Not everybody is treated equal in Canada... It happens every day. I live in Saskatoon. I experience it all the time,” Tut said.
“Indigenous people of this land are experiencing the same thing black people experience every day. They experience racism. Missing and murdered Indigenous women is a big thing in Canadian society.”
The Saskatoon Police Service spoke out about the situation on its Facebook page Monday night, saying it is “shocked and appalled” by what happened to Floyd.
“The action, and inaction, of the police officers involved was unacceptable, but we offer today that they are not representative of the policing profession as a whole,” the post said.
“Our members come to work each and every day to protect and serve everyone that lives here. They come to work wanting to be the difference. They want to go beyond the call to improve the lives around them.”
Ali Abukar, CEO of the Saskatoon Open Door Society, said it’s important to use the right language when it comes to saying black lives matter versus "all lives matter."
“All lives matter, but at this time, we’re talking about black lives and other racialized lives so it is important to specifically speak about issues that impact these members of our community and society,” he said
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“If we talk about other things, even though they’re important, it takes away the attention that is needed to address and deal with these issues.”
Abukar also said it’s important for people to educate themselves and act as allies.
“Take a bit more time to pay attention to what happens around us and our own behaviours and whether we perpetuate racist behaviours,” he said.
Tut agrees and adds that people should also listen to the experiences of people in the black community and other minority groups.
"If you don't live in this skin colour that I am living in, you probably don't know exactly what I am going through. I would ask people to always just pay attention and be a good listener."