REGINA – North Central neighbourhood residents are calling on the public to help join them in a quest to end gang violence.
Shawna Oochoo is a resident of North Central, and a mother of a teenage daughter. She said she fears for her daughter’s safety.
“I want us to be a safe community again. I want us to not feel like our children as soon as they walk out the door, or if they wear the wrong colour, or you know that they’re going to be hurt or harmed”, Oochoo explained.
It’s why she’s pushing for a broader conversation about ways to end violence in North Central.
“I think what it is, is calling for our political leaders and city representatives to recognize that there is an issue and community members want something done about it”, Oochoo said.
According to Regina Police, the area has the highest occurrences of violent crime and overall crime in the city.
In North Central, certain colours are sometimes associated with certain gangs.
In 2012, Derrick Amyotte was stabbed seven times for wearing the colour red in the neighbourhood. He later died in hospital from his injuries.
“I miss being able to go home and just tell him things”, Tara Amyotte said.
His sister Tara Amyotte is hoping further dialogue will help prevent other senseless deaths.
“We have to go back to our roots and understand what life is about, and it’s not violence”.
Oochoo and the North Central Community Association hosted a public forum on gang violence in the region. They hope it will spur discussion and create tangible solutions.
“How do we address poverty? Addictions? Mental health are kind of the key issues that need to be addressed, and having good plans and resources to back those plans up.”
“It’s all part of the solution”, North Central Community Association Executive Director Michael Parker said.