Arts & Culture

Black Lives Matter panel debates movement’s role in Canada

Discussion ranged from inclusivity to gendered violence

written by Laura Hardy
February 8, 2017 5:00 pm

The struggles of minorities within a minority were a common theme among speakers during the Black Lives Matter panel Monday night at Dalhousie.

“How can we strengthen the movement by being more inclusive?” asked Amina Abawajy, Dalhousie Student Union Vice President, Academic and External.

“As a black Muslim I have experienced anti-blackness in the Muslim communities and Islamophobia in the black community.”

Abawajy spoke about tragedies such as the Trayvon Martin shooting and how that ignited an uproar in the black community.

She then told the audience about how three young black Muslim men were killed.

They were “each shot multiple times and there was silence. Silence from the Muslim community and silence from the black community.”

People with overlapping minority identities were not the only ones being discussed as unheard voices in the Black Lives Matter movement. El Jones, a spoken word activist, discussed the role of women in the movement.

“We don’t talk about gendered violence and how serious that is in our communities,” Jones said.

“And the reason why we don’t talk about it is because the threat of racist violence outside of the community means that we as black women, in particular, have been burdened with the job of protecting black men.”

But, last night’s audience got the chance to listen to a diverse group. In addition to Abawajy and Jones, the panel included Kareem Wallace, a Dal student from the Bahamas. Wallace discussed his perspective on the movement from his Bahamian background.

Nzingha Millar, an African-Nova Scotian student at the University of King’s College, rounded out the group. Her main point was the lack of momentum the movement has in Nova Scotia.

The walls and hallway were lined with people trying to hear what was being said.

“This turn out shows that black lives matter,” said Dal professor Isaac Saney, the panel moderator. “A struggle for social justice, a struggle for a better world matters.”