We’ve all been watching. The death of George Floyd brought the entire world to a halt.
On Monday, May 25, Floyd was murdered by four police officers on Lake Street in Minneapolis, MN by way of a knee being held on his neck for nine minutes.
The video is viral, the protests are loud.
On Friday, Thunder Bay joined forces in solidarity with our neighbors by protesting for equality and rights for people of color.
A seat at the table
Among the protestors was Nicole Richmond, a lawyer from Pic River First Nation who participated with her girlfriends as jingle dress dancers performing between speakers.
“In this time when this pandemic is forcing so much fear upon us, forcing so much separation, it is important to see us coming together in this way,” Richmond said.
Our neighbors have gathered and shouted. We’ve watched thousands of people join forces to combat the systemic racism within the American community; racism that is seen in the streets and through the enforcement of law.
It’s unpleasant and uncomfortable and as we watch from Thunder Bay, the question arises: what do we do here?
Dave Simard, a founding member of the Thunder Mountain singers who performed with the Jingle Dress Dancers, addressed the crowd during his speech saying, “Today we’re here to honor that sacred bond we have with the community and to return the favor to stand behind them and support them.”
Friday showed the camaraderie our city brings to the table.
At 3 p.m., the protest began with a moment of silence for Floyd with fists being held high and a blanket of peace being laid down throughout the park. After, protestors marched around the park shouting for justice while signs waved high.
Cars joined forces by slowing and honking, letting the ones on feet know this is a community and we’re in this together, for ourselves and our neighbors.
Clouds began to roll in and once back at the park, rearing for speeches, the rain poured down. The weather was barely a blip; no one moved. Bodies stood and allowed the rain to fall while listening and backing the speakers discussing the current state of the world.
Standing in harmony
By joining with Black Lives Matter, the Indigenous community made it known that they’re standing side-by-side in solidarity and that people of color from anywhere and everywhere have a place here.
Simard reminded the crowd of the bond that’s been in Thunder Bay through moments of protests by both sides.
“When the native people were being sought at and chased around it was the black people that came and sat beside us,” Simard added.
Through history and the promise of a better tomorrow, cultures are coming together and standing up for one another.
“The sound that our dresses make is the sound of creation. The very beginning of creation and the energy that we bring through our dance is recreation; it is love, it is healing, it is support,” Richmond reminded us during her speech.
Thunder Bay and the relationship with the Indigenous community is a constant reminder of the history and work still needed to be done.
While we work in harmony on our own ground, Thunder Bay discovered the solidarity within all the communities in our own neighborhood while we stood hand-in-hand in support of our neighbors and history. Through this, we move forward.