Leslie Blaszk and Brighton Cretney add their voices to the demonstration spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement held along Highway 1 in downtown Salmon Arm on Thursday, June 4. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Youth advocacy group pulls out of Vernon Black Lives Matter protest

Earth Strike Vernon pulled its support after concerns raised about Kelowna, Vernon protests

Earth Strike Vernon, a youth activist group, has pulled out of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Protest scheduled for today at 3 p.m. after concerns were raised around protests in Kelowna.

After several black community groups stated they aren’t in support of the BLM rally scheduled for noon on June 5 in Kelowna, Earth Strike Vernon said similar questions have been raised about the Vernon BLM protest.

“After hearing the criticisms and concerns raised by independent activists in the community, we feel that we have a moral and ethical responsibility to listen to the voices that we pledge to protect,” the advocacy group’s press secretary Kieran Grandbois wrote in a social media post.

“Otherwise, we aren’t really representing them at all.”

“Earth Strike Vernon will uphold its responsibility to the BIPOC community by pulling out of this upcoming BLM protest,” Grandbois wrote.

In a press release, the advocacy group said the decision to pull did not come lightly but was necessary.

“The organization continues to unwaveringly and ceaselessly support the Black Lives Matter movement,” the release said. “The pulling of support for this protest comes from a place of support for the wider movement.”

View this post on Instagram

!! ATTENTION VERNON !! Recently, questions arose about the Kelowna Black Lives Matter (henceforth, BLM) protest that was scheduled for today. The questions that arose led to a condemnation of the rally by a local BIPOC group. Similar questions have since been raised about the Vernon BLM protest, also scheduled for today. After hearing the criticisms and concerns raised by independent activists in the community, we feel that we have a moral and ethical responsibility to listen to the voices that we pledge to protect. Otherwise, we aren’t really representing them at all. Therefore, the organizers of Earth Strike Vernon have voted to retract our official support and participation for this protest. The vote was unanimous, of all members present. While we remain convinced that the intentions of the activists are good, the voices of the community in question take precedence. While we thank the activists involved for their participation, we recognize our responsibilities as well. We do not wish to create animosity with the activists who organized this event, and we will still maintain our working relationship and connections with them. A copy of a press release has been distributed to local media, voicing the same points as this post. For all intents and purposes, this post does count as an official press release of the Committee for Public Relations. So, in summary: due to the concerns of independent activists in the community, Earth Strike Vernon will uphold its responsibility to the BIPOC community by pulling out of this upcoming BLM protest. Thank you all for your understanding. In Solidarity, Kieran Grandbois Press Secretary | Earth Strike Vernon

A post shared by Earth Strike Vernon (@earthstrike_vernon) on

Earth Strike Vernon said it’s convinced the intentions of the independent activists set to protest today at 3 p.m. in Polson Park are good.

“While we thank the activists involved for their participation, we recognize our responsibilities as well,” Grandbois wrote. “We do not wish to create animosity with the activists who organized this event.”

READ MORE: Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

READ MORE: ‘I just felt I had to do something’: Vernon Black Lives Matter protest organizer


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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