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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.

Participants in the Black Lives Matter solidarity gathering pump their fists in the air and take a knee on Tuesday. Several Yellowknifers marched through the streets to 49 Avenue where a series of speakers addressed race, injustice and police brutality issues at the RCMP detachment. Several speakers addressed the crowd that called for defunding the police, an end to systematic racism and a more equal and inclusive society for black and Indigenous peoples. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

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, a speaker during the event, encouraged people to support black lives and anti-racism, including efforts to defund the police.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

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.

 

 

 

 

More photos 

 

Several people marched past the Yellowknife Courthouse with makeshift signs, including this one marked Black Trans Lives Matter.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

 

Mathew Mtatiro was one of the people spotted participating in a march of solidarity through the streets of Yellowknife, Tuesday. Hundreds of residents either marched or took part in a motorcade stretching from the Multiplex to the Yellowknife RCMP detachment on 49 Avenue to call out injustice at the foot of the RCMP headquarters. The event corresponded with the funeral of George Floyd who died under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis in May.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

 

Many young people and families were brought to the event that was noted several times as a historic moment that youth should learn about as an important moment for black people and marginalized people.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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