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March unites the West End

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March Against Violence participants are seen taking to the streets during the walk in 2011.

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March Against Violence participants are seen taking to the streets during the walk in 2011. Photo Store

The Daniel McIntyre/St. Matthews Community Association (DMSMCA) led the March Against Violence 2013 on Sept. 17.

The walk was just under two kilometres. Participants met up at Central Park at 6 p.m. and, carrying homemade signs, they walked down several streets in the West End, ending the march at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre. The event concluded with a community feast.

Jesse Gair, community building and well-being co-ordinator for the DMSMCA, said this is the fourth March Against Violence the association has held. The walk started out as a response to escalating violence in the West End. Community organizations got together and decided to do something about crime in their neighbourhoods.

This year’s march focused on supporting families affected by violence.

"We’re trying to make it more personal," Gair said.

A resident and employee of the West End, Gair said that regardless of the violence that’s prevalent in the area, it doesn’t reflect the majority of the community.

"The West End is a safe place to be," Gair said.

Gair said he thinks the neighbourhood’s peaceful nature is tied to the way people in it rely on each other.

"There’s low-income people talking to each other. More people rely on each other. Our community is one of the more ethnically-diverse. There’s a lot of strong families and a lot of strong family support," Gair said.

The March Against Violence also aims to show that the inner city’s sense of community is stronger than the amount of crime.

For more information about the association, visit dmsmca.ca or call 204-774-7005.

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