Saskatchewan

North central community looks to end gang violence in Regina

A Regina mother and Idle No More co-organizer is calling for an end to gang violence in the city's North Central neighbourhood.

Grass roots group to host community forum Monday evening

Regina's first homicide of 2016 was in the city's north central neighbourhood. (Brian Rodgers)

A Regina mother and Idle No More co-organizer is calling for an end to gang violence in the city's North Central neighbourhood. 

To aide her efforts, Shawna Oochoo has started the campaign #NCEndTheViolence, which will host a community forum event this evening at the Albert Scott Community Centre.

Referencing the city's first homicide in 2016, Oochoo said it hit close to home. 

"As a resident of North Central and the parent of a teenage daughter, I felt I had to do something," she said in a release. "I prayed for guidance. Then, the answer came to me in the form of a teaching from my grandfather, a medicine man."

"He once received a prayer cloth from people who were on a healing journey. So to honour this, my teaching and all who are on this healing journey, the rag tie ceremony was created," she explained.

Nearly all families in the community have been affected by gang violence, whether by immediate loss from death or by incarceration, the release said.

In some cases, even wearing the wrong colour in the neighbourhood could put you in danger of gang violence. 

Tonight, Oochoo and other community members hosted a forum, to discuss how to stop gang violence in the area.

"There's absolutely no resources available for these kids, there's no tools available for these kids and there's no programming available for those that want to leave the gangs," said Oochoo.

"There's no support and for me that was kind of the last straw, something needs to be done." 

The group is hoping to engage with community leaders and politicians to bring about much needed change. 

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