Trigger warning: this post contains details of a murder that may be triggering to some.
Last Friday, an all-white jury found Gerald Stanley, a white man, not guilty of murder in the point-blank shooting of Colten Boushie, a 22 year old Indigenous man. In a country plagued with a deep and brutal racist, colonial history, this story is horrifying -- and is a sober reminder that this history is still very much alive today.
Right now, there is a fundraiser on GoFundMe, a prominent online fundraising website, to raise money for Boushie’s killer -- and it’s already raised over $157,000 to recoup “some of their lost time, property and vehicles that were damaged, harvest income, and sanity.”
No one should profit on Colten Boushie’s death. Not Gerald Stanley, and certainly not GoFundMe. It’s time this page comes down to help the Boushie family heal and know some sort of justice, even though it was so brutally denied to them by our justice system.
Tell GoFundMe to take down its shameful fundraising page and return all the donations immediately.
The details of Colten Boushie’s murder are clear: a white man shot a young Indigenous man at point blank in the back of the head and then Stanley's wife allegedly shouted, “that’s what you get for trespassing on private property.”
Canada’s “justice” system allowed the defence lawyer to dismiss all individuals appearing to be Indigenous from the jury without question. Mr. Boushie’s death, and the subsequent response by police and the courts, is a glaring reminder of the colonial racism that pervades every level of Canada’s judicial system.
Colten Boushie’s murder trial has revealed the giant, festering sore that is our justice system. And it is a justice system that needs reform, there is no doubt.
Gerald Stanley was found not guilty in a justice system that allows all-white juries in cases where race is obviously a factor, where cops burst into the deceased family’s house and search it, asking if the grieving family has been drinking and where a seemingly impossible series of events leading to the death of a man could, by 12 white people, be seen as not only possible but probable.
And while Colten Boushie’s family reels from the injustice of it all, and Indigenous communities across Canada are reminded again of how little worth the Canadian justice system puts on their lives, Gerald Stanley and GoFundMe profit.
Please join me in signing the petition to tell GoFundMe to take down its shameful fundraising page and return all the donations immediately.
The way that GoFundMe’s platform works is that it collects a fee for each donation and a percentage for processing the payment, so it is literally profiting off the horrifying death of Colten Boushie.
Stanley’s fundraising page is not just offensive and insensitive, it could also be in violation of GoFundMe’s own Terms of Service that prohibit "items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.”
SumOfUs has taken on GoFundMe in the past. After the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, we teamed up with Color of Change to get the killer’s fundraising page taken down. Over 29,000 caring members like you took action, and in response one of the fundraisers was removed and GoFundMe deleted hateful, racist comments off the page.
Last year, we also took on Shopify, Canada’s multibillion-dollar online e-commerce company for running a store for Breitbart News (AKA Trump News). Together, after 204,000 of you signed the petition, we forced Shopify to update its acceptable use policy.
GoFundMe: Take down your shameful fundraising page for Colten's killer and return all the donations now.
This campaign is a small sliver of what we need to work towards to reform our justice system and address our colonial present and past, but it is one thing we can do together right now.