Anti-violence activist assaulted in Winnipeg's North End
Michael Champagne says attack comes as community group celebrates anniversay
A North End advocate who started a community movement to combat violence in his Winnipeg neighbourhood is sporting a fat lip after he was assaulted Wednesday.
Michael Champagne started "Meet Me At The Bell Tower - Stop The Violence" three years ago as a way to bring the community together.
Every Friday, youth and people in the neighbourhood come to the Bell Tower at Selkirk Avenue and Powers Street and talk about how to make the North End safer.
He said he and a female friend were walking on Selkirk Avenue around 9:45 p.m., when two men came up behind them started taunting them.
Champagne said as they tried to get away his wallet fell on the ground. When he bent down to pick it up one of the men kicked him in the face. The two men then took off.
Champagne said he's grateful to the staff and customers at Robins Donuts at Selkirk and Salter. He said they helped call his family and got him home.
"My biggest frustration is I now have a fat lip and it's hard to smile," said Champagne.
He said the timing of the attack is ironic, because on Friday, the community is to celebrate the third anniversary of the Bell Tower movement.
"Immediately I was like are you kidding me? Like the week of the Bell Tower, like two days before, this is so crazy," he said.
He said he wants to be as "constructive as possible," after the assault.
"I think events like this emphasize how important [it] is for us, as residents and citizens, to look out for one another," he said. "That's what we talk about every Friday."
Champagne describes the attack on him as random. He said he doesn't know the men and has no idea why he was targeted.
He plans to file a police report.