The sound of Eishia Hudson’s name filled the air as more than 200 people shouted the 16-year-olds name during a gathering at The Forks in Winnipeg on the one-year anniversary of the teen’s death at the hands of Winnipeg Police.
This is the third memorial for Hudson since she died on Apr. 8, 2020.
“I strongly believe if we keep coming together change will happen,” William Hudson, Hudson’s father, told the crowd.
Hudson was one of five teens who were allegedly involved in an alleged liquor store robbery last year before a police chase took place.
During the pursuit Hudson, who was driving, crashed into several vehicles. Police were able to surround the vehicle shortly after and as they tried to apprehend the teens one officer fired two shots.
An autopsy later determined Hudson died after a bullet her torso.
The chief medical examiner’s office deemed her death a homicide.
William Hudson has been demanding justice for his daughter’s death over the past year.
“No child deserves that. It’s why we’re here today, and it’s why we’ve got to continue to do what we do,” he told the crowd.
“Look around right now you see all the little ones. It’s what we’re fighting for.”
Hudson was one of three First Nations people in Winnipeg who police shot and killed during a 10-day period last year.
In January, Manitoba’s police watchdog cleared the police officer involved in Hudson’s death of any wrongdoing.
A move the family and First Nations leaders have criticized.
“It’s unfortunate that [Hudson] had to die for us to be pulled together again to continue elevating this issue of systemic racism [and] of systemic discrimination,” Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told the crowd.
During the two-hour event there was drumming, dancing, singing and an interactive art display where attendees could pin flowers to a mural.
At one point Hudson’s mother, Christie Zebrasky, lead a balloon release with other family members.
Gold lettered balloons spelling missed & murdered were released into the sky.
Throughout the event Hudson and the safety of Indigenous youth was on everyone’s mind.
“I have a daughter. She’s 10-years-old and I’m worried about the world that she grows up in. I’m worried that if she makes a similar mistake or any mistake, are Winnipeg Police going to take [her] life,” said Ryan Beardy, the emcee of the event.
“We have to fight this to the bitter end until we have justice for Eishia Hudson.”
A coroner’s request has been called but no date has been set. The inquest will examine what happened and can make recommendations to ensure something similar doesn’t happen in the future but it cannot assign blame.
Justice Minister Cameron Friesen has not called for a public inquiry but told APTN News in a statement the province is committed to introduce legislation this year that will improve policing and police oversight in the province.
“I reached out to Manitoba’s Grand Chiefs, who are working collaboratively with Manitoba Justice to bring changes to the Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba to enhance transparency, communication and ensure that Manitobans have confidence in the work of this important agency,” the statement read.
Similar memorials were held across Canada in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver.
William Hudson thanked everyone who came out to support the family.
“It touches my heart so much…today is a hard day for me but you guys showing up and standing by our family’s side it’s touching.”