White protestors attending a vigil for Michael Brown were asked to follow a different set of rules than people of color.
Organizers in Toronto told “non black allies” to “refrain from taking up space in all ways possible” and “never be at the centre of anything” at the Tuesday event, which was created by a group called “Black Lives Matter.”
According to the Daily Mail, the Facebook event has provoked tension following the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, which decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The rules stated:
WHITE/NON BLACK ALLIES
While we appreciate the solidarity shown by White and Non-Black POC, want to remind folks of some things:
-Please refrain from taking up space in all ways possible. Remember that you are there in support of black folks, so should never be at the centre of anything
-Refrain from speaking to the media. Black voices are crucial to this
-Stand behind black folks or between us and the police
-If you see a cop harassing a black person, come in and engage. (chances are they are least likely to arrest you)
Toronto organizers received deluge of criticism for being racist after creating an event to combat racism.
“Wow, is this an anti-racist rally or a pro-segregation one?” one Facebook user wrote.
“Changed a lot for me,” another said. “I will no longer be attending this event or supporting this cause.”
But others have supported the organizers.
“So many white tears about the rules for allies... Why can’t you let black folk stand in the centre and let their voices be heard, just for once,” one commented.
Another commenter, according to CTV News, wrote: “We need to stop equating centralizing black voices to segregation. This ‘argument’ is used by white/non-black folks way too often and continuously derails conversations around fighting anti-black racism or doing anti-racism in a larger sense.”