Views / Opinion

Jasmine Kabatay: Amid mourning Boushie, we stand together and build up

In these times, we must take care of each other, and be reminded that we matter.

Debbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds up a photo of her son as she speaks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons after a day of meetings on Parliament Hill.

Justin Tang / The Canadian Press

Debbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds up a photo of her son as she speaks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons after a day of meetings on Parliament Hill.

On Friday Gerald Stanley was found not guilty in the death of Colten Boushie.

I felt the disappointment from across the country, and within myself.

It’s a time of mourning and frustration for all of us. Indigenous Peoples have made it very clear this is the type of so-called justice we see time and time again.

But we are not permitted the space and time to grieve in peace. While we mourn Colten, we also face oncoming waves of racism.

A GoFundMe was started for Stanley. And while many donated anonymously, others opted to donate under the names of Indigenous leaders, such as Saskatchewan-based Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations chief Bobby Cameron or former Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence, presumably in an effort to antagonize.

After the verdict, Indigenous journalist Robert Jago wrote a piece for MediaIndigena, an Indigenous publication. But few people read it there, because shortly after it was published the website was hacked and taken offline.

By Tuesday it was still offline, according to its official Twitter feed. It’s not clear, the feed said, whether the site was “directly targeted” with a hack. “But still frustrating as hell,” they tweeted.

It’s like we’re forced to deal with childish bullies while also grieving for Colten and his family.

But while we continue to mourn, we are fighting back and building each other up.

When MediaIndigena went down, other publications offered to post Jago's piece, like Rabble, Canadaland and National Observer.

When the #JusticeForColten hashtag was flooded with anti-Indigenous messages, a new hashtag called #SettlerCollector was created, calling on supporters to intervene when racist or hateful comments popped up on posts.

Over the weekend, hundreds of people rallied across Canada calling for changes to the country’s justice system. It was a huge moment of support not only for the family, but also for each other. What happened to Colten is something that could have happened to any of our family members. It’s important to be around people who understand that reality.

Politicians, from the prime minister to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould have made statements of sympathy and called for change.

“As a country we can and must do better,” said Wilson-Raybould.

On Monday, the Boushie family was invited to Ottawa to speak to cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In these times, we must take care of each other, and be reminded that we matter. It’s important for us to come together and show our support to Boushie’s family and Indigenous youth who see themselves as Colten.

And to non-Indigenous people, adding your support is simple: be angry and demand change with us. If something isn’t right, call it out when you see it.

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