Members of a soon-to-be-formed Black coalition in Yellowknife rejected recent vandalism in the city that included use of BLM, the acronym for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In two incidents between July 4 and July 6, the underground parkade below Centre Square Mall and a number of cars parked there were defaced with red spray paint – including a classic 1971 Volkswagen Beetle.
Among the scribbles were a message reading “ride or die,” the name of an international criminal gang, and the letters “BLM” sprayed on a column, two walls, and the floor of the parkade.
In a statement to Cabin Radio, Ambe Chenemu, who helped organize a Black Lives Matter solidarity march and motorcade in Yellowknife last month, said the appearance of the BLM acronym detracted from addressing the real issue of anti-Black racism.
Chenemu said he and other members of the coalition were “saddened” to hear about the property damage.
“This is not the spirit of our city and it is quite disturbing and frightening to see such a horrible thing happen here,” he said.
“A lot of residents, including myself, are still struggling with the challenges brought by Covid-19 and I can’t even begin to imagine what the victims of this senseless act are having to deal with.”
Chenemu stressed that Black Lives Matter is against vandalism. He said these types of sentiments and actions distract from the main conversation about anti-Black racism.
“This is exactly what we are fighting against,” he said.
Brad Enge, who lives in the Northern Heights building whose residents uses the parkade, said he did not believe those responsible for the vandalism are connected with the Black Lives Matter movement.
He called use of the acronym a “convenient distraction.”