On Saturday, Edmontonians were invited to walk in solidarity with local Somali community members and honour the lives lost.
Sunday April 16, 2017
By Jennifer Ivanov
Dozens of people took part in the Walk for Justice Saturday. Global News
A local human rights activist wants more attention drawn to the growing number of unsolved murders in Edmonton’s minority groups, particularly the Somali community.
“We need support, we need inclusion, we need to address this issue,” said Mahamad Accord with the Edmonton Community Coalition for Human Rights.
Accord said there have been dozens of murders of young Somali men since the early 2000s in Alberta.
“Not only to bring awareness to murders of young people in the community, but bring a sense of closure for families struggling with the loss,” Accord said.
The Walk for Justice also coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Dozens joined the march, making their way from Edmonton’s Muslim Cemetery and walking approximately 25 kilometers to Churchill Square.
Those participating also called on all forms of government to also address the criminalization and arbitrary detention of youth.
“There’s racial bias that takes place here as well,” said Knia Singh, co-founder of the Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice. “Arbitrary detention, illegal search and seizure, but I think what’s most important is that the communities need the support of the politicians and agencies — and there’s a disconnection.”
Singh, a Toronto-based lawyer, was invited to Edmonton to share his experiences on racial injustices (delete) and advise local leaders on better advocacy within their communities.
“We can’t have a system that claims to be free and democratic, and yet there is discrimination,” Singh explained.
“It’s about co-operation and community, and the main thing is communication. It’s about understanding both sides. I don’t think there is a negative or ill intent for people who are in positions of power; but if they never have the hard conversations or they’re never presented with the facts or the challenges in the community, they won’t know what to do.”