Day one of our 2020 journey and what an excellent start.
We met early at the Canadian Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg and immediately began to set up. Participants began arriving shortly after and assisted our team as we prepared for the launch. As we prepared, we had the opportunity to meet and greet the 25-30 police officers in attendance as well as 40-50 youth who were to join us on our journey through Winnipeg. The event began with speakers from police services which included the Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP, Manitoba First Nations Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police. My good friend Mitchell Boulette shared his story of our 2018 journey and was our MC who introduced Chief Vernon Redsky of Shoal Lake 40 and Treaty #3 Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh. All speakers expressed their support for the walk and shared kind and encouraging words. Thank you to all for your support.
We departed west bound with a great group making a few quick stops along the way. There were youth dancers at the University of Winnipeg who danced for the Walk. It was wonderful to see the beautiful regalia as they showcased their style and danced with pride for our walkers. Thank you dancers. A quick stop at division D RCMP headquarters where we stopped briefly to meet with supporting staff. Once we departed, our entire group was applauded and were given stay safe wishes by the all as we walked away. Two great stops before continuing west.
Our police escort continued through the city as we continued on west with escorts provided by the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP. Thank you to the traffic units for providing a safe escort and interacting and sharing your stories with us along the way.
A thank you to Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata for once again being involved with the walk. Assisting us with ensuring a great event as you did as well in 2018 is greatly appreciated. Sending staff and youth to participate, including the youth dancers added to the success of our event. Thank you.
Before we end the update for the day I want to add this. We are all aware of the challenges our youth face daily. We have always discussed issues that impact our youth: MMIWG, opioid crisis in our communities, human trafficking, children in care, residential schools and the trauma for thousands of our survivors. Add Covid 19 to the mix, I can’t imagine what youth are thinking as they watch all of it. Racism is a huge topic for us as well that continues at all levels of society. Our message today was geared towards police and the need to address the systemic racism issue in our organizations. We all know what’s happening south of the border with the Black Lives Matter movement but we can’t overlook our own issues here in Canada. There continues to be huge concerns within our Indigenous population when it comes to the conduct of officers here in this country when dealing with Indigenous people. At Hope in the Darkness we are asking that the racism within our organizations be addressed now. We are promoting positive relationships between police and community. We need to establish a common goal for everyone’s mental health, that includes our officers, our communities, and our youth. Let’s work together to work on these relationships and be healthy together. Let’s start trusting and helping each other.
Thanks everyone. We are beginning tomorrow morning for day two in Headingley, Manitoba. have a good night. Hopeinthedarkness.ca