“We are deeply traumatized and heartbroken for the loss which will certainly leave a dent in our hearts.”
On Nov. 19, vigils were held in Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa to honour and demand justice for Hodan Hashi. The 23-year-old, originally from Ottawa, was killed in a Saskatoon bar on Nov. 5.
The altercation was captured on video by bar-goers and eventually went viral on social media. Paige Theriault-Fisher was initially charged with second-degree murder.
The charge was later reduced to manslaughter after police in Saskatoon reviewed the evidence, and Theriault-Fisher was subsequently released on $5,000 cash bail on Thursday, Nov. 10.
The Ottawa vigil began shortly after 3 p.m. — as the rallying cries “justice for Hodan,” “no justice, no peace,” and “we need justice” slowly began to spread amongst the crowd, largely composed of Somali women, both young and old.
Khadija El Hilali spoke to the crowd on behalf of the Hashi family, expressing their sorrow at the loss of their beloved daughter and sister, and their hope that they will receive justice.
“Today marks the 14th day since the loss of our beloved sister, a kindhearted, smart, caring, and selfless person who was tragically killed in a violent public and brazen attack that ended her life. We are deeply traumatized and heartbroken for the loss which will certainly leave a dent in our hearts,” she began.
“Hodan was born in Ottawa and was the sixth of nine children, born to two Somali parents who immigrated to Canada in 1989. Hodan was an active community member who dedicated her energy as a translator to Somali newcomers, and had a dream of helping kids with disabilities reach their potential,” El Hilali continued.
“The sequence of events and decisions that ensued are deeply troubling and are speaking volumes to the Muslim, Somali, and Black community members and allies in the prairies, and across so-called Canada. As we are learning the details surrounding this incident … we’re here to insist and demand for transparency, accountability and justice for our beloved sister Hodan Hashi.”
Robin Browne, the founder of 613-819 Black Hub, addressed the audience after El Hilali, criticizing the Canadian justice system and calling into question Theriault-Fisher’s release.
“Now, as you all know, here in Canada, racism isn’t in your face, like down in the States. So you got to kind of look for it, right. What we do is we compare the way that the justice system treats Black people, or the way it treats people who hurt Black people. So we see that the white woman who was accused of killing Hodan got released on $5,000 bail. Now, I don’t have the data. But I think we all are thinking that not many Black people, especially our Black men, get released on bail,” said Browne.
Browne compared Theriault-Fisher to the case of Honor Charley, the former Nepean High School student who was charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated assault for stabbing two people on Somerset Street West in April 2021.
“He’s been in custody for a year and a half, and he didn’t get bail. What, is he more dangerous than [Theriault-Fisher]?” he said.
After a half-hour break, during which attendees were encouraged to grab complimentary warm beverages and masks, vigil gatherers participated in Maghrib — one of five mandatory prayers for Muslims, at 4:30 p.m.
The Hashi family invites the public to donate to their GoFundMe campaign, which will help cover the cost of legal fees and Hodan Hashi’s funeral.