Hundreds of residents of Cumberland House came together to send a strong message that gangs and drugs have no place in their community.
The Taking Back Our Community Solidarity Walk began at 11 a.m. and included hundreds of students between Grades six through 12, as well as other residents who wanted to be part of a united voice. After the walk, participants gathered for speeches and people were encouraged to share their experiences of illegal drugs and gang activity. Organizer Marlene McKay began the discussion and said it's important residents remember they have the power to change the situation.
“I just want to give people hope,” she said. “We deserve to have good lives. We deserve to be able to stand up and say ‘No, that’s not what we want. This is not who we are.’”
McKay felt compelled organize an event to empower her hometown for several reasons, noting she’s had family impacted by hard drugs and buried relatives who were affected by it. She also recently watched a video on Facebook of four or five young men beating another guy from Cumberland House and was disheartened from what she had seen. McKay believes hard drugs aggravate situations and lead to destructive behaviour.
As a resident of Saskatoon who visits Cumberland House often, McKay began organizing the event by reaching out to friends online. She told them drugs were starting to take over the community and soon had many people wanting to help. McKay stated it all began about three weeks ago and they were able to raise some funds for the event in that time.
“It’s a crisis. It’s all over Canada. It’s frightening,” she said. “We’re supporting each other and it’s an important message that has to be shared.”
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