It is July 22, which means another year has passed. Four years ago, a young girl and a teenage woman were murdered, thirteen others were shot, and countless others were terrorized in a seemingly random act of violence on the Danforth. The situation that night was total chaos. It took days and weeks and months to learn of the extent of the tragedy. That night started innocently for so many on a warm summer evening, among restaurants and patios and ice cream shops. Then a stolen gun used as an instrument of hate created a jarring shock to our families, and as we have come to know, to many in the Danforth Community, in Toronto, and across the country.
In addition to marking the lives of victims and survivors, on this anniversary and at all that follow, we thank the many who helped us, in the heroism of our First Responders and the medical professionals; from the community and the impromptu vigil created at Alexander the Great Parkette and attended by thousands; the band Billy Talent and the other performers who organized a concert with the help of the Danforth Music Hall and the Danforth and Greektown BIAs; the many others whose kindness shows what this city can be when sense of community is the guiding principle.
We recount this story every July 22, grim as it is to do so, because talking about it helps many of us to deal with it. We have learned that you do not forget, even as you try to. It’s more that you live with what happened and adjust. Acknowledging the shock to others and finding those who feel the same loss and hurt helps a bit. But the loss and its impact on your mental well being does not go away. The cost of gun violence is understated, as we have come to learn, and we must as friends and neighbours and fellow citizens of the city, help survivors and their families whenever gun violence occurs.
Some of the Danforth survivors and their families, joined by other community members affected by the July 22 event, created a grassroots group called Danforth Families for Safe Communities (DFSC). From the facts of our case, we advocate for actions that can be taken by all levels of government to reduce the risk of death caused with guns. To read a statement from DFSC, follow this link https://bit.ly/3vao7RZ
For today, we focus on remembering, to honour Reese and Julianna and what they accomplished in their short lives. Thanks to Mayor Tory and to the City of Toronto for helping us to mark this occasion, and for all of those who support us.
About Danforth Families for Safe Communities
DFSC is a group of survivors, families, friends and community members impacted by the shooting tragedy on Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Canada, on July 22, 2018, where a young girl and a teenager were killed and 13 were shot by a lone gunman. The DFSC have come together in the wake of our tragedy to share our views and experience, in the hope that others will not have to experience anything similar.
DFSC Fourth Anniversary
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