Black Lives Matter rally in Edmonton on June 5, 2020. Photo by Paula E. Kirman.

2020 will go down in history as the year of George Floyd’s public execution by state police, the senseless murder of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and scores of other black young people in cities and marginalized communities in the United States. Just another year of racialized murders. Arbery was out for a neighbourhood morning jog, chased by self-appointed vigilantes.  Jogging has become a crime punishable by white vigilante murder. Bre Taylor, on the front lines of the medical war against the deadly Covid, was riddled with police bullets as she slept. More fake stories of ‘shot’ in self-defense.  As people across the globe shocked by the open displays of racial hatred shouted cries that ‘Black Lives Matter!’, police dug in to defend their own. We say the names of those snuffed out by cops in parking lots, alleys and on arbitrary pavements. BECAUSE BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER!  They ask us not to forget that they had dreams, ambitions, careers, families, loved ones.

It is common for Canadians to think that this climate of systemic and institutional racism exists only in the United States. Whether in Winnipeg, Nunavut, Montreal, New Brunswick, Toronto, Alberta, Montreal or on First Nations reserves, Canadians of colour have been killed at the hands of police. Killed first, investigated later. Murdered for having mental health issues. So we say the names of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Ejaz Choudry, Clayton Crawford and countless other victims. BECAUSE BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER!   2020 was ‘A Record-breaking year for deaths in Canada’ at the hands of the police, research sources say.  

Police actions have emboldened white supremacists. Their targets? People of colour. Anti-racist rallies throughout Alberta have been attacked by neo Nazi and terrorist groups like Blood & Honour, Soldiers of Odin whom Police say ‘have a right to assemble in public and express their views’; they are licenced to intensify their aggression.  

Where is the justice, the equality for ordinary people fighting systemic racism? How can society thrive with such racial tension as the order of the day unless BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER!? We are born in our black skin or any skin of colour.  Don’t make it our prison!

Donna Coombs-Montrose
Black History Month, 2021

Read We Want to Breathe by Donna Coombs-Montrose.

See Also: Black Communities in Alberta; Systemic Racism in Alberta’s History