Joshua Yasay, one of the victims of the shooting that took place in Danzig, attended elementary school with my younger sister. Although I did not know him personally, I was connected to him through his older sister, Janelle, a friend at the same public school. Learning about his death was an immense shock and quickly became too close to home and real for me.
After his death, I connected with both of his older sister’s to give my condolences and share my devastation about this tragedy. Attempting to make sense and find closure of such a tremendous loss to Joshua’s family and the community, I attended his funeral, which was a graceful yet extremely emotional event. I was overcome with such grief and cried uncontrollably the entire time.
Although I had no connection to Shyanne Charles, the other victim of the shooting, I share my sincerest love and prayers to the families, friends and those that like myself, who are not directly connected, but still impacted by these senseless shootings.
As I reflect about the stigma associated with the east end of Toronto, I often wonder what we, as a community, can do to improve the well-being and quality of life of those that have and continue to be affected by issues related to violence, crime and unfortunately, death.
I am aware that there are many complex and interrelated issues that shape the realities of those living in different neighbourhoods, and therefore, more than one strategy, program, service etc. needs to be implemented to improve the various circumstances at hand.
Although I am still trying to work through these losses and the narratives that have unfolded after the violence, I would like for us -individually and collectively- not to reinforce any negativity about Danzig as a community and to be mindful of those living in Danzig are hurting and will continue to do so as they work through the events of July 16th that have changed their lives forever.
[Editor's note: More reflection pieces and discussion on the current issues related to violence in and surrounding our community will be published in the Fall 2012 edition of MY ROOTS.]