Serena Jenna, a 14-year-old girl, sits outside Yellowknife’s Northwest Tower on Franklin Street holding a white sign with three letters written on it: “BLM.”
Jenna says she sits outside to remind people that just because they do not see posts about the Black Lives Matter movement as frequently on social media any more, there are still injustices happening to Black people on a daily basis.
“I’m here, I guess, as a reminder to people that this is just not some trend that you can throw on your Facebook page and then be like ‘OK, I’m not racist,’” she said.
“People are literally dying and getting beat because of how they look, and I’m just one person, I can’t do much. But I’m here to do what I can and that’s telling people that this is important.”
Jenna says she has sat outside the building every Tuesday for the past five weeks with her sign, a chair, her bag, and her blanket.
People who pass her in cars sometimes honk their horns, she says, give her a thumbs-up in support of her, or shout to her from their seats.
She has had some encounters that were not as pleasant, where people have passed her and made remarks such as “all lives matter.”
When that does happen, she says she replies with: “Save the whales does not mean eff all the other fishes.”
A protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement took place in Yellowknife in June, with hundreds of residents gathering downtown participating.
Jenna believes there should be more action in Yellowknife and other regions of the NWT to bring awareness and justice to the issue and its victims.
“The Black Lives Matter protest is possibly one of the biggest protests in history, and some people don’t know what it means,” she said.
“If you’re going to clap your hands at me, go online, sign some petitions, educate yourself, make calls, write letters.
“If you’re going to say how brave I am for fighting, how about you go fight.”
Meaghan Brackenbury contributed reporting.