Thunder Bay

Monday vigil marks one year since attack on Barbara Kentner

The vigil and round dance take place at 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Cameron and McKenzie Streets, the corner where Kentner was struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car.

Kentner died after being hit by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car

Barbara Kentner, left, was struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a moving car in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Jan. 29, 2017. (Jody Porter/CBC)

A vigil and round dance in the city's south core Monday night will mark the one-year anniversary of the trailer hitch attack on Barbara Kentner.

Kentner was struck by the object, thrown from a passing vehicle, while walking with her sister at the intersection of Cameron and McKenzie Streets in Thunder Bay, Ont.  She was hospitalized following the attack and died in July.

"We wanted to keep Barb's memory alive, and mostly we wanted to stand up against this stuff because it's been a year and these kinds of things are still happening," said the vigil's co-organizer, Nichole Barkman-Lands.

"We hear of youth still getting stuff thrown out of the window at them, and people being shot with pellet guns.  And when people stand up against this kind of violence ... we're stronger than that as a community." 
Everyone has a right to feel safe walking down the street, said vigil organizer Trivena Andy. "You should't have to be worrying about if a remark is going to be yelled at you and anything's going to be thrown at you." (Trivena Andy)

The organizers hope to send a message that violence is unacceptable, and everyone has a right to feel safe walking down the street, added organizer Trivena Andy.  

"You shouldn't have to be worrying about if a remark is going to be yelled at you and anything's going to be thrown at you," she said.

Monday's event is being organized by the same group of Confederation College staff and alumni that organized a solidarity walk last year in support of Kentner:  Andy, Barkman-Lands, Rachel Catroppa and Jana-Rae Yerxa.

"We were with Barb and her family from the beginning," Catroppa told CBC. 
Vigil co-organizer Jana-Rae Yerxa advised attendees to dress warmly and said people are welcome to bring hand drums. (Heather Kitching/CBC)

"When we heard this story we all kind of grouped together because we were in an Aboriginal community advocacy program, and we ... thought this was absolute nonsense ... and it was happening far too much," she said.

Catroppa, the only non-Indigenous ally among the organizers, said the event is intended to be inclusive because "we don't want there to be that divide there, and this effects our community as a whole."    

"When you're coming out to the vigil we just want it to be open, and we just want people to be respectful and mindful of why we're out there, just to show the support to the Kentner family," she said.  

Yerxa advised attendees to dress warmly and bring a hand drum if they wish.  

She also noted that St. Luke's Anglican Church at the corner of Cameron and McKenzie Streets has signalled it intends to open its parish hall to attendees who need a break from the cold.

The vigil and round dance begin Monday at 6:30 p.m.
 

now