Windsor

These Windsorites say the Black Lives Matter movement is empowering, educating people locally

CBC Radio's Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette spoke with two Black Windsorites who are actively supporting the Black Lives Matter movement — and they want all of us to know, and to feel, what it's like to live in their shoes.

Cheyann Labadie and Teajai Travis talk about the movement going on right now

There were several marches and protests over the weekend in support of Black Lives Matter. Tony Doucette speaks with with Cheyann Labadie and Teajai Travis - two Windsorites who hope the message will finally get through. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Black Lives Matter protests continued in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend, and we had some here in our region, too.

Though George Floyd was an American, anti-Black racism and police violence against people of colour does not stop at the border.

It affects people here in Windsor-Essex and throughout this part of Ontario.

CBC Radio's Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette spoke with two Black Windsorites who are actively supporting the Black Lives Matter movement — and they want all of us to know, and to feel, what it's like to live in their shoes.

Teajai Travis is an artist and a community leader in Windsor's west end, at The Bloomfield House, and Cheyann Labadie is going into her fourth year studying social work at the University of Windsor.

Here is a portion of that interview. Tap the player to hear the full discussion. 

This has been a difficult couple of weeks. How have each of you been personally affected by the death of George Floyd?

Cheyann

I think it's been very educational and very empowering. As sad as everything is I'm so thankful how the world has come together to stand up for our rights and equality. I'm thankful that things are starting to move and justice is starting to be brought up and I hope it continues. I hope the people advocating and going to these protests don't stop until change is made.

Teajai

To echo Cheyann, the organizing the solidarity, the showing of young people to come out and really gather together in a meaningful way has been absolutely amazing. And I'm very excited to see the numbers of people who have been coming out to support this movement. These are numbers I haven't seen in this city ever. I went out first to the Walk of Justice and the amount of people that gathered down by the water in solidarity and to really push a strong statement of justice is it's quite inspiring. 

LISTEN | Hear the full discussion with Teajai Travis and Cheyann Ladbadie:

What can people in Windsor who aren't Black do to support the ideals of Black Lives Matter?

Cheyann

I think the biggest thing is advocating online — social media is such a huge platform right now and I think the reason this has gotten so big is because of social media. So just advocating online, supporting your friends, if you have a Black friend be there for them. This is very overwhelming for a lot of us, it's heartbreaking, it's overwhelming but it's empowering at the same time. Go to the protests being held, donating and signing the petitions online now, do as much as you can. 

We have seen protests before and then the issue dies down and nothing changes. What is it going to take to stop this cycle?

Teajai

The youth coming out the way they've been coming out is breaking the cycle. We're experiencing a shift that's happening right now, a shift in collective consciousness is happening right now. We're not going to see silence follow what's happening right now because allies are beginning to educate themselves which is extremely important but Black folks are coming together in such a meaningful way and showing how well we organize and how well we can organize. one of the biggest shifts that's happening right now that I'm appreciating is the education that's happening.

We live in Windsor, Ontario, it's important that people know in this country 1793 anti-slavery was passed, 1834 slavery was abolished in the British Empire, but what that means is there was in fact slavery here. You look at Windsor, Askin Street was named after a slave owner. McKee, Peter, Russell, which is named after Peter Russell who famously enslaved people across in the Toronto area. Our former city hall was built over the old barracks that was used to receive Underground Railroad refugees and a traditionally Black neighbourhood sprouted around there and that neighbourhood was bulldozed to the ground. It's important that we understand where we're living and the education that's happening right now and the collective organizing that's happening right now is exactly why this movement is not just going to die like other movements. 

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