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Enough is enough: Call to action against gun violence in Toronto—Community March 2023
By Fred Alvarado Fred is a community journalist with FOCUS MEDIA ARTS CENTRE
More than 200 people marched in downtown Toronto on Saturday September 23rd from Yonge Street and Bloor Street intersection to Queen’s Park in the annual Community March Against Gun Violence In Honour of the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Homicide.
The action was organized by several community organizations and gun control advocacy groups such as Mothers of Peace in Regent Park, Gabe’s Red Balloon Foundation, Mending a Crack in the Sky, and Zero Gun Violence who work to engage mothers and families in need of support to deal with their never-ending grief and trauma after losing their children to gun violence.
The Peace Walk was an opportunity for the heartbroken mothers, siblings, and friends to speak out about the impact of gun violence on their lives and an opportunity to say, enough is enough, and that the time is now for all levels of government to listen and take action. Clearly the marchers believe that what is being done now, is not working.
The community event started with a couple hundred people at Yonge and Bloor with land acknowledgement and multi-faith prayers. They marched down to Queen’s Park via Yonge Street and were escorted by the Out to Ride Bikers, a riding club that was founded in 2007, with the vision to bring together people.
Participants — many wearing clothes commemorating those who had died —chanted: “the people united is how we stop the violence”, “no more deaths in our streets, put the guns down”. “Mothers are crying, people are dying, we want action now”. They carried signs for peace to draw attention to gun violence in Toronto and called for it to end.
The march ended with a community gathering on the lawn outside Queen’s Park. Organizers provided an opportunity for advocates, mothers and youth to express their concerns about the need for timely and sustainable supports to address their trauma and grief resulting from the horrific impacts of gun violence.
FOCUS Media Arts Centre (FOCUS) is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1990 to counter negative media stereotypes of low income communities and provide relevant information to residents living in the Regent Park area and surrounding communities.
We seek to empower marginalized individuals and under represented communities to have a voice, through the use of professional training, mentorships and participatory based media practices that enable the sharing of stories, experiences and perspectives on relevant matters and issues. In brief our mandate is to empower marginalized individuals and under-serviced communities to have a voice and tell their own stories.