Yellowknifers braved the wind and cold Thursday for a Black Lives Matter solidarity motorcade and march that took residents from the Multiplex to the downtown core Tuesday afternoon.
The event drew hundreds of people sympathetic to community movements that have emerged across North America to mark the death of George Floyd who was killed in Minneapolis after asphyxiating under the knee of a police officer, May 25.
Floyd’s body was buried on the same day Yellowknife held its event.
Organizers told NNSL Media that the event came together organically starting last Thursday by the Public Service Alliance of Canada who obtained permitting for the event from the city. Many vehicles were seen lined up at the Multiplex and down Kam Lake Road for the motorcade procession while residents also marched down Franklin Avenue to RCMP headquarters.,
Ambe Chenemu facilitated much of the discussion that included several community speakers at a final gathering on 49 Avenue in front of the RCMP station. Among the speakers were Chief Ernest Betsina of Ndilo, Yellowknife city councillor Cynthia Mufandaedza, Gerri Sharpe, and several other residents who spontaneously volunteered to lend their voice to the event.
Members of the Yellowknife RCMP stood outside the detachment, including Inspector Alex Laporte as people spoke.
Chenemu called for the police to be defunded, which he said would better serve citizens, people of colour and marginalized people. He also asked the crowd taking a knee and raise a fist in the air in protest against the law enforcement system that he said discriminates against minorities.
“We’re here for a reason,” he told a cheering crowd. “We’re here because we matter. And we’re sick and tired of saying, ‘Well, here goes black is power. Black is freedom. Black is equality. Black is equity. Black is everything is beautiful.’ All you think about it.”
NNSL Media reached out to the RCMP for a reaction to the event.
This story will be updated.