Black Lives Matter protest planned for Revelstoke

Peaceful protest to highlight systemic racism that still exists in Revelstoke and across Canada

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A crowd protesting in support of Black Lives Matter. Photo: Pixabay

Update:

The protest location has moved and will now take place at the Centennial Park near the ball diamonds on Thursday, June 4 at 12 p.m.

Deschamps contacted the Mountaineer on Wednesday, June 3, saying the protest had been kicked off of the Mountain View Elementary field, which is still owned by the Revelstoke School District. The Revelstoke Mountaineer also spoke with Revelstoke School District Superintendent Mike Hooker, who said the district is bound by the provincial health office and due to current restrictions around COVID-19 large gatherings are not permitted on any school district owned properties. Hooker said despite not being able to allow the protest to happen on school owned property, the school district is still supportive of Thursday’s protest.

Original story:

A Revelstoke youth is planning to peacefully protest in support of Black Lives Matter this Thursday, and is inviting others who support the movement to join her.

The Revelstoke Mountaineer spoke with Grade 12 Revelstoke Secondary Student Aza Deschamps about why she’s planning to protest and her inspiration for doing so.

“For the last week I’ve been pretty emotional. I’m not black, but I am a person of colour and I genuinely feel for the people that are struggling through this,” said Deschamps. “I’ve just been watching what’s been happening online for the last week, trying to educate myself and educate others.”

According to the Black Lives Matter website, the movement was “founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.” The recent death of George Floyd and the subsequent arrest of now former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third degree murder, has sparked protests in support of Black Lives Matter across the U.S.

Deschamps made a post about her plans to protest in support of Black Lives Matter in the Revelstoke Community Page on Facebook on Tuesday, June 2. Some of the responses included people asking about other people of colour, including Canadian First Nations people, who experience systemic racism.

“This protest can bring awareness to all of these things. Individuals who are upset about indigenous unrest can share about that. It’s a fight about police brutality and white supremacy. It’s a chance for people to share their experiences of racism, to support the movement and each other,” said Deschamps.

Deschamps, who is Metis and Japanese said despite some belief to the contrary, racism does still happen in Revelstoke.

“It really does, all the time. It just needs to be acknowledged and shut down,” she said. “I’ve been called [racist names] on the playground, I’ve been told to pick rice. This racism is being taught to people. I’m just so fed up with it.”

Deschamps said the Revelstoke RCMP have been invited to take part in the protest by standing in solidarity. She says while she is frustrated by the actions of police taking place globally, she doesn’t believe all police are bad.

“That’s not what I’m trying to support, but there are a lot of nasty people who tarnish the badge,” she said.

The protest takes place at the old Mountain View Elementary School field beside Old School Eatery this Thursday, June 4 at 12 p.m. Deschamps is asking any one joining to practice COVID-19 physical distancing measures such as wearing a mask and staying two meters away from others. People who support the protest, but are immunocompromised or would prefer not to attend can put up a sign in in their window in support of BLM instead.