WINDSOR, ONT. -- It’s a day to celebrate freedom.

Emancipation Day, marked on Aug. 1 commemorates the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1834.

While festivities look a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the message remains the same.

With masks and physical distancing in place, close to 50 people marched throughout Downtown Windsor toward Charles Clark Square.

There they gathered to share personal testimonies of racism. A diverse crowd, people of all races showed their support.

“Most of them are white allies which we absolutely need,” said Aboriginal Workers and Workers of Colour Committee member and guest speaker at the march Yvonne Browning Coates.

"We need their voice more. In the community we need to stand up against that, when you see it. Even when we’re not around we appreciate that.”

Given the climate around the Black Lives Matter movement, this rally was not just a celebration of freedom, but a call to end institutional systemic racism in Canada.

“It’s time for all of us to fight together to end systemic racism and the injustices that we see around our country,” Browning Coates said.