An Indigenous and Black Lives Matter rally was held on June 9 in Smithers. People started at Bovill Square and marched down Main Street in solidarity with the movement that is going on in other cities across the world after a police officer killed an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis on May 25.
One organizer, Mary Ball, thought the turn out was incredible estimating about 150 people attended.
“It made my heart so warm to see the amazing turnout, as the event was planned in such a short amount of time,” she said. “It really shows how important this topic was by how fast the word was spread. It was an amazing evening.”
Other estimates pegged the crowd at more than 200.
Mavis Bonnie, who is Wet’suwet’en, marched for everyone who has been mistreated for the colour of their skin.
“I wanted to be a part of a change that we need in this world,” she said.
She added it felt so empowering being part of the rally.
“You can feel the tension of anger towards racism. Many nations and generations walked on Main Street. For a moment …. we all became one.”
She said racism is everywhere. “Growing up I’ve watched many people discriminated without hesitation,” she said. “Whether it’s on the street, in the store or online, we need to continue putting out awareness and talking about it. It can no longer be silent.”
Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach said it was powerful to see such a huge, diverse crowd take to the streets of Smithers for the Indigenous and Black Lives Matter rally in a Facebook post.
“Thank you to Kayla, Sarah, Mary and Ashlynn for bringing our community together,” he added. “I know you will hold those of us in leadership accountable for the changes that are long overdue.”