Today, on International Day Against Police Brutality

For 27 years March 15 has been marked globally, as a day of action and solidarity against the violence of policing. In so-called Canada, the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality has organized annual actions in Tiohti:áke, colonially known as Montreal.

On unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, səlilwətaɬ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory, in so-called Vancouver, Honour Their Names, an art exhibit and organizing space presented by #JusticeForJared returns to Gallery Gachet for a second year marking the day.

The exhibit honours over 100 Indigenous people who have been shot and killed by police forces across Canada. Sadly, since last year’s exhibit, there have been at least 6 shooting deaths of Indigenous people across Canada – including 3 in the lower mainland.

Haida Elder Jimmie Johannesson was killed by the Surrey RCMP during a wellness check on April 8, 2022.

Kerry Flanders (Mamalilikulla First Nation) was killed by VPD during a police-reported “exchange of gunfire” on April 28, 2022.

Christopher Amyotte (Ditibineya-ziibiing (Rolling River) First Nation) was killed by VPD while he was in acute distress on August 22, 2022.

This show is a chance for you to witness our grief and unrelenting remembrance and resistance.

– Laura Holland

Photo credit: Asha Kaur | Laura Holland speaking at "Honour Their Names | March 15, 2023

Laura Holland, mother of Jared Lowndes, describes the importance of the show as it returns to Gallery Gachet for another year.

It has been a long fight – for my family, and numerous others. Justice for Jared represents the fight of just one family, while many others continue to search for justice. This show is open to everyone – to come down, to see and feel this space, filled with the names of Indigenous people killed by police gunfire. It is sacred – to visualize the huge loss that has been inflicted on our people by kkkanada. We honour these names – with beauty. We have been told to feel shame and guilt for what we have been through, but these names are beautiful. It is kkkanada that should be ashamed – how have we been made so unsafe in our homelands? Please, come to the show and meet the families who carry the names of their loved ones – you may read about us, but this show is a chance for you to witness our grief and unrelenting remembrance and resistance.

Photo credit: Sozan Savehilaghi | Nhora Aust and Claudette Clayton Beals at the "Honour Their Names" exhibit | March 14, 2023

Claudette Clayton Beals’ daughter, Regis Korchinski-Paquet was killed by the Toronto Police Service on May 27, 2020. Regis was an Afro-Indigenous woman with Black Nova Scotian roots. When Claudette reflects on the death of her daughter, and the continued ways that Black, Indigenous, and people of colour are targeted by police violence, she questions what kind of country lets police get away with this.

Police are coming into our communities and killing our young Black brothers and sisters, they are murdering Indigenous people and getting away with it. Canada pretends to be a land of opportunity, but it is stolen land – where we are treated like slaves at the hands of police. Their badge is a license to kill. Police pollute our cities with systemic racism.

I wish the public could see the lengths the police go to in covering up their violence.

– Nhora Aust

Nhora Aust, the mother of Anthony Aust. Anthony Aust was killed by Ottawa Police Service during a militarized no-knock raid at their family home on October 7, 2020.

Over the last two and a half years, my heart has been broken again and again. I lost my son to police violence and would never wish this on anyone. I thought I was the first person affected, but since Anthony was killed, I have learned of so many other families. I wish the public could see the lengths the police go to in covering up their violence. People must listen to families - to prevent this from happening ever again - the police are terrorizing the public while we need peace. I do not feel protected by police, nor would I call them for help. We cannot wait for another preventable tragedy to make change, yet municipal governments still choose to fund police. Their budgets go up every time someone is killed. Too many tears and too much blood has been shed, asking for justice.

Photo credit: Asha Kaur | Laura, Carol & Inktsu Manson speaking at "Honour Their Names" | March 15, 2023

Laura Manson lost her brother, Julian Jones, to an RCMP killing on February 27, 2021. Julian was killed by multiple gunshots fired by Tofino RCMP in his community of Opitsaht (a Tla-o-qui-aht community, of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation. Remembering her brother, Laura shares more about him:

Julian was loving, kind and respectful. I never knew him to hold a grudge. He loved easily and fiercely. He acknowledged everyone he met. Family, friend, or stranger alike. Julian Jones' life matters. The officer who took his life should be held accountable for his actions. If a BIPOC civilian took a life, they'd be held accountable to the full extent. They wouldn't have anonymity and simply be relocated like Julian's killer has been.

We don’t need to look far to see the ways police (and the supposed accountability systems that oversee their actions) are protected from accountability. Honour Their Names, an exhibit and organizing space, invites people to engage with the realities of police murder through art - a means of remembrance and resistance.

Laura Linklater, co-creator of the show who also raised Jared Lowndes, shares the importance of the ribbon boards:

Our message is to connect the sacred. It’s time for us to connect the four nations under the sacred tree of life. Justice for Jared is Indigenous-led but the time has come to include the Four Directions.

Moroti George, Artistic Director at Gallery Gachet

While Gallery Gachet, Defund 604 Network, Justice For Jared, and all our other community partners will always recognize that remembrance acts as a form of resistance, we are also aware that the struggle towards decolonization is all-encompassing and continues outside the gallery's walls. As the Artistic Director of Gallery Gachet, I firmly believe we are not all free until ALL Indigenous and Black bodies are free.

Photo credit: Sozan Savehilaghi | "Honour Their Names" art exhibit | March 14, 2023

Without accountability, police act with impunity and disproportionately harm marginalized communities, including Indigenous, Black, and other racialized people, those who use criminalized drugs, those experiencing behavioural health crises, and those who are unhoused.

– Mara Selanders, BCCLA

Mara Selanders, staff lawyer at the BCCLA

Violence defines the institution of policing and flourishes in settler colonial, white supremacist systems that condone and enable it. Police violence continues to be facilitated through the absence of consequential oversight and accountability. Without accountability, police act with impunity and disproportionately harm marginalized communities, including Indigenous, Black, and other racialized people, those who use criminalized drugs, those experiencing behavioural health crises, and those who are unhoused. As people continue to be seriously harmed and murdered by police, our governments prioritize half-measures and incremental change and watch the caseload of the Independent Investigations Office continue to grow. Over the past two years alone, it has doubled. BCCLA is actively engaged in supporting families and survivors who have no choice but to engage with these institutions while working to abolish and reform laws that shield police from blame and insulate them from fault. We are pushing governments beyond recommendations and towards removing police from the concept of safety altogether.

Photo credit: Asha Kaur | "Honour Their Names" art exhibity at Gallery Gachet | March 15, 2023

In Vancouver, this stark reality is exemplified by the horrific and gruesome death of Myles Gray, who was killed by multiple police officers (at least 7 were at the scene) on August 13, 2015. Myles’ mother, Margie Gray, continues to speak openly about the severe injuries that resulted in her son’s death. For 7 ½ years she’s searched for answers – while VPD officers obfuscated the IIO investigation and after BC Prosecution Services failed to proceed with charges against subject officers. Next month, the Inquest into Myles Gray’s death will be held at the Burnaby Coroners’ Court. Justice for Myles Gray!

Researchers with Tracking (IN)justice confirm that police-involved use of force deaths have increased over the past 22 years. As Tracking (IN)Justice notes:

...a number of historically disadvantaged communities – including Black and other racialized communities, Indigenous persons, those with precarious housing, people with mental health issues, drug users, migrants, youth, members of the LGBTQ2S community – are disproportionately the targets of police surveillance, use of force, detentions, searches, criminal charges and incarceration. The disproportionate impact of policing can be particularly pronounced for those individuals who identify as a member of more than one of these communities, including Black, racialized and Indigenous individuals who are young, experiencing mental illness, or underhoused.

READ: Understanding the Data: Historical and Contemporary Context of Policing, Colonialism and Discrimination

International Day Against Police Brutality is a day to honour the continued struggle against police violence and murder. It is an opportunity to step into solidarity with the families and communities impacted by ceaseless forms of state violence – which continue to target Black and Indigenous communities, as well as poor people, drug users, disabled people, and people living at the intersections of overlapping structural harm. Police also infiltrate our communities as well, through systems like police-healthcare partnerships, the family policing system, and media campaigns that mislead audiences about “public safety” issues.

Honour Their Names opens Wednesday March 15 at 11 AM at Gallery Gachet. The exhibit will be open to the public Tuesday – Saturday, from 12-6 PM.

Programming Schedule

Wednesday, March 15 - 11 AM
In Person & Facebook livestream.
Opening - Feast – Speakers

Thursday, March 16 - 2-4 PM
In Person & Facebook livestream.
Panel: Systemic Responses To Police Murder

Friday, March 17 - 2-4 PM
Defund 604 Network: Overview of the IIO

Friday, March 17 - 6-8 PM
LIVING FREEDOM: Immersive Soundscape Featuring Ruby Smith Díaz

Saturday, March 18 - 2-4 PM
These Zines Are Cop Free! Youth Zine Workshop

Friday, March 24 - 6-8 PM
Closing - Feast – Community Jam




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