Edmonton DBA boss resigns over ‘ALM’ tweet
EDMONTON The executive director of Edmonton’s Downtown Business Association has resigned after a strong rebuke from the organization for his tweet that included the hashtag “all lives matter” in the lead-up to a Black Lives Matter protest last week.
Ian O’donnell submitted his letter of resignation as executive director on Tuesday, and the board of directors accepted his resignation Wednesday morning, chairman Robert Bothwell said in an email.
“The DBA board and staff have thanked Mr. O’donnell for his prior service to the DBA and his commitment to the downtown,” Bothwell said. “The DBA remains fully committed to implementing the actions announced on June 4, in support of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in our community. Those actions are also listed on the above web page, and are being integrated into our work plan.”
On June 3, O’donnell tweeted using the hashtag “#ALM,” short for “all lives matter,” ahead of a Black Lives Matter protest that saw thousands protesting peacefully following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25.
“Dude, I respect those whose respect each other, cops or otherwise. #ALM,” O’donnell wrote.
I have dedicated much of my life to community building and this comment has undone much of that work.
A search for his Twitter account, @Ianoyeg, on Wednesday indicates the profile no longer exists.
The tweet prompted the DBA board of directors to respond, saying “using the phrase ‘all lives matter’ was insensitive, disrespectful, and not reflective of our values. We thank all those who spoke up and raised their concerns.”
In his resignation letter, posted on the DBA website, O’donnell said he deeply regretted his tweet and plans to educate himself more on issues around injustice, unconscious bias and systemic racism.
“I fully and completely apologize for using ‘ALM’, a term that is associated with hate and racism,” he said. “I was wrong to use it and am sorry for the hurt that it has caused. I have dedicated much of my life to community building and this comment has undone much of that work. I am disappointed that I have let others down, and I have let myself down.”
O’donnell has been the executive director of the DBA since 2016.
The board said a search to replacement for O’donnell will start soon.