By Woodard, Dale on June 26, 2020.
It’s a step, literally and figuratively, in the right direction.
As part of Multiculturalism Day, a Peace Rally March from Multicultural Centre to Galt Gardens is taking place Saturday at 1 p.m.
For Evan Wardley, a black hockey player from Vulcan who played for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns for the past four years and was an assistant captain last season, Saturday’s march will allow everyone join in the walk to ultimately stamp out racism.
“For everybody to show their support online is one thing, but your actions will speak louder than words,” said Wardley, who also played for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League from 2010-15. “So for me, that’s why it was important to have this rally and to have this Peace March for the Lethbridge community, to take that right step forward and taking action and saying that this is done and this is over, racism is not OK. We are all going to learn and we are all going to teach and we’re going to ask difficult questions in order to make sure that our future generations of children don’t have to deal with this.”
Wardley will initiate the march to Galt Gardens with three drummers dispersed throughout the crowd.
The Taiko drummers will welcome the crowd to the Galt Gardens Amphitheatre area at 1:30 p.m.
After a welcome and acknowledgement of territory by Wardley, a Blackfoot Elder prayer and acknowledgement of dignitaries, speakers will include Rachael Harder, MP Lethbridge, Shannon Phillips, MLA for Lethbridge West, Nathan Neudorf, MLA for Lethbridge East, and Mayor Chris Spearman representing Lethbridge City Council.
Victor Wutor, president of Southern Alberta Ethnic Association and Chief Scott Woods of the Lethbridge Police Service will also speak.
Following a closing message and prayer by pastor Daniel Zopoula, Wardley will deliver the final words.
The march will also feature performances by the Indigenous Drummers, African Drummers and the Celtic Drummers.
“There are going to be a few speakers to touch on the events in the community and how we are coming together,” said Wardley. “It’s a celebration. It’s nothing to be hating on anyone or to be putting anybody down. It’s a celebration of culture and it’s a celebration of where you come from and your background. It’s the Lethbridge community showing their support that they want to see change and they accept everybody for who they are.”
Wardley, who also played bantam and midget hockey in Lethbridge, said he enjoyed ample support in setting up the march, starting with Tymmarah Mackie, human resources specialist in diversity and inclusion with the City of Lethbridge.
“She has been helping me a lot with organizing and getting me in touch with the right people to bring it to their attention. Obviously, being a hockey player from this community, hockey is a big part of the Lethbridge community with the Hurricanes. I played bantam and midget hockey here, so I’ve always had that support from the hockey side of things. My hope was those people who support the hockey players in town will see that not only am I a hockey player, but I’m a concerned citizen in the Lethbridge community that wants to see change and I hope that they will be standing with me on Saturday.”
And, ideally, at future marches.
“I think this is something that needs to be continued, for sure,” said Wardley. “Maybe it’s not necessarily a protest or a march, but the conversation needs to be continued.”
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