#DanforthStrong run planned to commemorate Toronto tragedy

Sunday evening's run is a chance to reflect on the events of last summer

July 17th, 2019 by | Posted in Runs & Races | Tags: , , ,

On Sunday, July 21, runners and walkers will gather on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue to honour the victims of the shocking events of July 22, 2018, when a gunman killed a young woman and a 10-year-old girl and injured 13 others.

#DanforthStrong commemorative run 2018. Photo: Sarah Kiriliuk

The 3K run/walk will start at the McDonald’s at Danforth and Coxwell Avenue at 9:00 p.m. and end at the Alexander the Great Parkette at Logan Ave., where last year’s tragedy started.

RELATED: Hundreds of runners gather in support of Toronto’s Danforth community

Organizer Sarah Kiriliuk was amazed when well over 120 people showed up to last year’s run. “It was a beautiful and magical event–I felt like I was running on a tidal wave of resilience and courage,” she told us in an email. “So many people talked to me afterwards and said thank you for providing them an opportunity to come together and do something to heal and to take action. I’m hoping to keep the spirit alive as long as possible, even as a way to remember the victims.”

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Seven months ago today Reese Fallon and Juliana Kozis were killed and 13 others wounded during a deadly rampage by a gun-wielding deranged man on the Danforth here in Toronto. The surviving victims and families affected by the shooting held a press conference this morning to plead for a national handgun and assault weapons ban in Canada. Minister Bill Blair’s report on that very initiative is due out shortly. On the occasion of releasing the video for our gun control song, Blood of the Lamb, I spoke last week with my local Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin about what more can be done to end gun violence. In solidarity with the call to action today by the Danforth shooting victims and families, I want to pass along some of what was suggested: 1. Contact your friends and families and local MPs who live in rural communities in Canada to clarify and inform them about the call for a handgun and assault weapons bans, emphasizing that it is NOT a long gun rifle ban. The government effort is not to ban hunting rifles but the personal ownership of those weapons whose only real purpose is to kill another human. In support of that effort, keep in mind the disturbing statistic that 75% of all suicides in Canada are shooting deaths and the fact that the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) considers this issue of gun control a matter of public health. 2. The less immediate solution for combatting gun violence in our city and country has to do with the larger goal of instilling more resilience in our young people today, particularly those at risk or disadvantaged. It is not a quick fix but that big picture advocacy is also needed. To that end, you can encourage support from all levels of government for long-term funding for, e.g. peer-on-peer counseling initiatives or family-support programs in at risk neighborhoods. And here is our musical plea and commemoration of those fallen by gun violence, including Juliana and Reese. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMVO4SPmayM (click on link in our bio) #gamesweplaywithguncontrol #danforthstrong #reesefallon #julianakozis #handgunban #assaultweaponsban #youthresilience #bloodofthelamb

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Kiriliuk is a runner, mom and sometime blogger who lives in Toronto’s east end.

Reese Fallon, 18 and Julianna Kozis, 10, were killed in the events of last summer.