UBC Black Student Union speaks out following anti-racist protests in United States, Canada

The UBC Black Student Union (BSU) has released a statement in solidarity with anti-racist activists and those impacted by police brutality after the recent deaths of several Black figures.

George Floyd’s death on Monday, May 25 sparked a string of protests and subsequent riots across many major cities in the United States.

“With the ongoing climate of egregious acts against the Black community all over the United States and Canada, we would like to state that we stand firm, united, and with those indirectly and directly impacted by the recent violence against our communities,” wrote Maia Wallace and Tracy Odhiambo, co-presidents of the BSU.

In the statement, the BSU said it stands in solidarity with the family and friends of Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Ahmaud Arbery and those “who were violently murdered by the police.”

Solidarity action has spread to Canada, with thousands gathering in Toronto after the death of Korchinski-Paquet, details around which are still unclear.

A protest in support of Floyd and Korchinski-Paquet is scheduled to take place in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 31. An individual organized the event, but Black Lives Matter Vancouver has asked attendees to remain peaceful out of respect for Korchinski-Paquet’s family.

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We are aware of the protest planned for this evening, and know @boy_pollo has identified himself as the organizer. . We support Black folks and groups that are exercising their right to protest white supremacy and state violence! . In line with the wishes of Regis Korchinski-Paquet's family, please keep this event peaceful, as you gather in solidarity to demand justice. * ***Our Advice: * *Wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose. Black and Indigenous communities are at much higher risk of serious consequences from Covid-19. Don't be the reason that our communities get sicker. * *SPREAD OUT. Ensure you stand, at least, 2 metres/6ft away from people that are not part of your pod. * *Health practitioners and folks caring for vulnerable populations, carefully weigh your options and analyze the potential risk. * *Consider Self isolating for 14 days after attending a protest during a pandemic. If you can't isolate, please weigh your options and potential risk . *Consider accessing a drive-thru covid19 testing station after the protest. * *Be safe and keep community safe . BLM Vancouver is not the official organizer of this protest, but we stand in solidarity, with deep gratitude.

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“Today, we applaud those who choose to take action in the fight for justice by partaking in the protests in Vancouver. Here, we encourage kindness, unity, and the maintenance of safety measures,” said Wallace and Odhiambo in a statement to The Ubyssey, also commending the allyship of those showing support from afar.

“To our fellow brothers and sisters, remember to take care of yourselves and reach out to those around you. It is okay to disconnect and take some time to breathe. We are all grieving at this time. We are here for you as your community leaders and as your family.”