Good People takes a hard look at Canada’s problems and scours the planet for the places and solutions that offer hope. In this web special segment to go along the episode focusing on gun violence in Toronto, Mark Sakamoto talks with Nancy Bokma, the mother of late skateboarder Justin Bokma.
We talked with long time SBC contributor Nik Sexton, who directed this documentary.
Hey Nik, I remember you interviewed Justin for SBC in the past, what was your relation with him?
Justin was a good friend. I met him through another good friend Dan Bochart, back when those guys lived together in Parkdale, Toronto. I want to say this was in the early 2000’s.
For younger people, or for people who might not know Justin, can you tell us who he was and what happened to him?
He was a legend. A pro skater’s pro skater. Justin was on the cover of Transworld back lipping a young looking Hubba hideout. I can only speak from my vantage point because there’s a lot of great guys out there who knew Justin Bokma way better than me but whenever Justin would show up to a skate spot, you could literally watch everyone ooh n’ awe, then hear the whispers, “Holy shit that’s Justin Bokma.” He was that skater.
Justin Bokma was tragically taken from us July 1, 2016, working as a doorman at a Kensington market bar where he was fatally shot along with bartender and father of 2, Lefranc Matthews. The killers are still at large.
You directed the Justin and Nancy Bokma piece for Good People Canada, what is Good People Canada and how did this piece come together?
I’d been working on this new CBC/VICE doc show called “Good People” for some time. When we decided to make an episode on Toronto Gun Violence it was a no-brainer to talk with Nancy Bokma. The goal was to get the whole Justin story out there in a respectful way. Nancy is a wonderful lady and we still keep in touch to this day. She wants nothing more than justice for Justin, so whenever someone shares our Bokma piece or any other news story, to Nancy that’s one more ounce of hope they might catch the guys who did this.
It must be noted this piece almost never saw the light of day until Bill Weiss helped us get phone numbers/clearances for the archives. Really awesome for Bill to help because I knew how close he and Justin were. They were basically brothers.
How do you remember Justin?
I’m from Newfoundland and I fondly remember Justin chirping or leaving voicemails on my phone in a Newf accent. He really enjoyed the classic Newfoundland line, “Yer not a man…but yer some b’y!” He’d often grin and repeat this to our little east coast crew with his best accent. It always made us laugh. Justin would tell me how he wanted to see Newfoundland someday. Sadly, he never got the chance.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yeah. Thanks to Nancy and the whole Bokma family and those who let us use their photos and footage. Wes Loates was a great help with this piece as well. Wes runs “Build For Bokma” a not-for-profit whose long-term goal is to develop a community-built skatepark in the honour of Justin Bokma. Support these guys and spread the good word because I think many of us would like to see the “Justin Bokma skatepark” come to fruition someday.
Recently City News did this plea to find the killers of Justin, if anyone has any informations, please contact Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS or TPS Homicide at 416-808-7400
Photos provided by Nancy Bokma