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

Two more on witness stand accuse former Chilliwack youth leader of sexual touching

BC Supreme Court justice rules similar fact evidence allowed in trial of Codie Anderson

Grand opening set for Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery at Chilliwack

Ribbon cutting ceremony with Molson brass and family members set to celebrate the official opening

East Coast comedian Ron James bringing ‘Full Throttle Tour’ to Chilliwack Cultural Centre

James is at work on the first draft of his first book, ‘All Over the Map’

Multiple accidents on Highway 1 slowing morning commutes

One accident just past 232 Street in Langley, second is just East of Bradner Street in Abbotsford

PHOTOS: Chilliwack Terry Fox Run in the rain

Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits or enthusiasm for the annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Prosecutors to consider charges in human-caused 2017 B.C. wildfire

RCMP forwards results of its investigation into Elephant Hill fire to Crown counsel

Petition to rename park after teen overdose victim to get hearing

With 3,500 signatures so far, organizer is thinking of closing down online campaign

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read