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Statement from DFSC The First National Day Against Gun Violence in Canada

Toronto, ON – June 2, 2023

Danforth Families for Safe Communities stands with the rest of Canada as we mark the first annual National Day Against Gun Violence. With a call to “wear white”, the colour of peace, this day is about awareness and reflection, and perhaps, it is also day to honour those fallen and those injured with visible and invisible wounds.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day started in the United States as a citizen-driven reaction to the 2013 murder of Hadiya Pendleton from Chicago. She was a majorette who performed in President Obama’s second inauguration and then one week later was killed by gunfire in

Obama’s Chicago neighborhood. Since that first year, the date’s significance has grown so that now this cause has been taken up and amplified by the NBA.

With similar sentiments, our Federal Government is supporting the Raptors and groups like ours who feel the need to call out the scourge of gun violence in Canada. We need our own moment here at home for the nation to reflect and to grieve and to contemplate steps for

improvement.

Speaking as DFSC, on July 22, 2018, we lost two beautiful souls in Julianna Kozis, 10 years old, and Reese Fallon, just 18. Thirteen others were injured and many more were traumatized that night by a lone gunman.

As difficult as it is to do so, we tell our story because we think such tragedy is preventable. We admire how the NBA and the Raptors have started to frame dialogue and seek input on solutions to gun violence based on three pillars: Prevention, Intervention, and Healing.

As Ontarians, many of the relevant resources that address prevention, intervention, and healing are controlled by the provincial government, including: education, health care, mental health, trauma counseling, social services, income policy addressing poverty, housing, and justice.

Positive results related to gun violence will come from this range of resources, assisted by community groups with lived experience. Policing as the sole reaction oversimplifies the issue. We agree with the sentiment that we can’t arrest our way out of the problem – nor should we try.

DFSC thanks the Raptors and the Federal government for creating this platform. We now call on our MPPs to listen and to act. We can have a zero vision for gun violence, but we need the focus and partnership and resources of our province.



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