After a string of shootings in the area, Toronto’s Jane/Finch Centre is calling on the public not to rush to judgment about one of the city’s most vibrant and diverse communities.
“Recent events weigh heavily on the minds of all of us here at the Jane/Finch Centre but we want to remind everyone that gun violence does not and should not define communities such as ours,” said Jane/Finch Centre’s Executive Director Michelle Dagnino.
Years of coverage that focused solely on violent incidents has created the impression that Black Creek is an area overrun with guns, gangs, and violence.
In response to news of Monday’s incident that saw a teen sent to hospital with a gunshot wound, one social media user described the neighbourhood as “dystopian.”
The staff at the Jane/Finch Centre takes great exception to this type of characterization.
“Every incident like this is a tragedy but crime and violence are not inherent to lower-income communities such as ours and our experience has shown that investing in people works,” said Dagnino.
The Jane Finch Centre has worked to address the root causes of violence, working closely with youth facing multiple barriers through its youth-focused drop-in centre known as The Spot.
“Youth are subjected to potential violence when they have limited access to opportunities, we provide a space safe for them at The Spot, offering them support from peers and adult allies” said Byron Gray, senior programs manager at Jane/Finch Centre.
Staff at The Spot believe strongly in their community and its residents, and pursue an asset-based approach.
“Youth have many assets that aren’t often considered as such. They just need support in order to have better chances for success,” said Gray.
The Jane/Finch Centre is asking for the community to rally together in this difficult time, reminding them that the Centre is here to support them.
(Article by Lucho Granados Ceja)