I have gone on a few protest marches in my time. I have gone on peace marches, climate marches, marches in support of women's rights, Pride marches, justice walks, refugee support marches. All of these have been peaceful supportive marches.
I would never quite considered myself an activist. Certain people have the loud voices. Certain people have the great passion. Certain people can rile up the crowd. No I am usually one person who is part of the supportive throng. All of the protests have been peaceful. Oh yes there was some people who would protest the protest: jobs over the environment, we must have strong armies to keep others in check, we can't let refugees swamp our country- but these voices too were peaceful. We disagreed but that is ok.
This past weekend, a rally was held to promote anti-racism here in Innisfail. Because of media coverage, the event drew a large crowd- over 500 in our small community. A few small voices promised to make trouble at the rally. Some were shouting it was ok to be white. Some told people of colour that they were not welcome and they should go back to wherever (which amused one speaker who had been born in Calgary) . But for the most part the rally was quiet. No one got hurt (well I did after the rally but it was due to my own clumsiness and not due to violence). Stories of pain were shared. Many seem committed to working together more closely. Many became aware that biases existed in society and these were harming our society. Many promised to do better.
There were a few voices though that saw this as a bad thing. Society was working for them so why change. For them God had created a world where white was good and black was bad. They were able to express their views. These views were not welcomed by the crowd, but still the naysayers could be heard. And a few hours after the rally, it was as if nothing had happened. Nothing was destroyed.
For some when they hear the word protest, they think it means violence. They think of burnt out cars, looted stores, violent confrontations with the police, tear gas, and molitov cocktails. I have never been in a midst of a protest like that. From what I have found, the vast majority of protesters just want their voices heard. They march, carry banners and signs, sing (although there was no singing on Saturday for COVID) demanding that society change. They do so peacefully. There is no violence. May people continue to raise their voices and work for change. May all of us work for a world that is more just and loving. And hopefully peace shall continue to reign in all communities.