Kelowna Black Lives Matter rally organizers address cupcake controversy | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Black Lives Matter rally organizers address cupcake controversy

June 07, 2020 - 9:31 AM

Facing backlash for putting the faces of victims of police brutality on cupcakes, the people behind an Okanagan rally organized to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement issued an apology.

Paige Harrison and Kermisha Pereira addressed a crowd of roughly 700 people, June 5,  who gathered to honour George Floyd, a black man, who was killed when a white police officer in Minneapolis put his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

READ MORE: Hundreds gather for Kelowna anti-racism protest

“We want to be transparent with the community, all communities, as possible,” Harrison said, at the event that was set up as an open mic, allowing residents to share their stories throughout the day.

“We understand how people could have perceived that and all opinions are valid, All feelings are valid. Our initial thought was to (commemorate) those who have lost their lives as if we would have the pictures laying here, just on cupcakes and we understand now that is distasteful,” Harrison said.

We do apologize… so there will be no cupcakes.”

Yesterday, the president of the African Caribbean Student Club said the club is not attending the march because local black student communities weren’t consulted beforehand.

Jane Udochi is a second-year student at UBCO and president of the student club. She said the student association members initially supported the protest but were skeptical.

After hearing that the protest would have the faces of victims of police brutality on cupcakes and sold to support the George Floyd memorial, she drew the line.

“We understand their intentions were good, however, the process (of going about) it, we cannot support it at all,” she said. “That is not helping us destroy the negative impact, that is feeding into the already existing trauma.”

Other student bodies that promote black communities at both Okanagan College and UBCO also didn’t hear about the protest until it was planned, she said.

READ MORE: Why a Kelowna black student association isn’t attending Black Lives Matter protest today

The organizers also addressed other comments, including one that black people were not a part of the organization of the rally, and were only included as a side note.

“I would really like to disagree with that, because we need white allies. We needed all the white allies to come together and go for this. It’s not just black people, we need everyone,” Pereira said.


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