A moment of silence was held to remember those who lost their lives to drugs and alcohol before the Peace Walk on Wellington Avenue began. More than 100 people joined the march.

Peace Walk through Chilliwack has message of hope

The Peace Walk against gangs and violence, led by Skwah First Nation leaders and more, was to mark National Addictions Awareness Week.

More than 125 marchers streamed onto Wellington Avenue for the Peace Walk Saturday.

A united message went out opposing gangs and drug-fuelled violence, led by Skwah First Nation leaders and others, to mark National Addictions Awareness Week.

Before the walk, about 90 per cent of the crowd put their hands up when Peace Walk emcee Theresa Point asked the pivotal question:

“How many people here have lost someone, or been seriously affected, by drugs and alcohol?”

Hands shot up and Point, who said she has Sto:lo family connections in Skowkale, as well as Chehalis, nodded in recognition.

“We have to be of one heart; we have to be of one mind, saying no more to drugs and alcohol in our communities,” she urged.

“No more” taking away family members who end up in institutions, and no more taking away the practice of aboriginal culture.

“We’re a broken people who has been through so much, and it’s going to take a lot of healing to get through,” she said.

She spoke about the pain of a community in mourning for a 15-year-old boy who recently took his own life.

“Stand with us, and walk with us, as we start to get stronger and take our proper place; as we start to reclaim our songs and our dances.”

A moment of silence was held to remember those who lost their lives in a struggle with drugs and alcohol, before the walk toward Skwah First Nation began.

Skwah Chief Robert Combes heralded the walk, which started five years ago on his reserve, and originated as a Walk For Sobriety.

“I’m proud of them and I’m proud to stand beside them now,” he said. “We are doing this for our people, and we are doing it for the world. We are struggling and we want the world to know.”

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she was also proud to be at the Peace Walk on behalf of the city.

“We’re here to send a message that we stand for peace, and we stand for righteousness and everything good and true,” she said. “Violence and drugs have no place in our community.”

She urged approaching “with a soft heart” those who are “stuck in the wheel of drug abuse,” with a message that the community cares.

Fraser Health addictions expert Dr. Sherry Mumford said that addiction does not get “the recognition” it deserves as a major health issue, as a family issue, as a personal issue, or as a community issue, mostly because of the stigma that’s attached to it.

The real message she wanted to send was one of hope.

“We talk a lot about the damage, but not enough about the hope and inspiration,” that can be felt on a “journey of recovery and wellness,” she said.

Drug and alcohol educator Eddie Gardener was proud to be at the event “taking a stand against something that wreaks havoc and destruction” on communities.

“We feel the devastation when one of us loses someone to drugs and alcohol,” he said. “That’s why we are standing up together today. We are igniting a beautiful dream, one with freedom from drugs and alcohol.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Light trucks are being converted to gas and propane in City of Chilliwack fleet

It came to light when tenders for certain trucks were deemed non-compliant without propane option

Family of missing Chilliwack senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

One-day delay for trial of Chilliwack pastor facing child porn charges

Main Street Church’s former executive pastor John Vermeer set for seven-day trial

Rail group to bring plan to Abbotsford council

Group is calling for plans to run trains on rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey

3 dead, 2 missing in northern B.C: Here’s what we know so far

Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot and killed on July 14 or 15

Memorial park bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in Kitsilano, for now

Vancouver Park Board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of B.C. couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Most Read