On January 22, 2013 a group of concerned Somali Canadian parents, part of a grassroots organization called Positive Change, held a press conference at Queen's Park to seek the help of government and the public at large to solve a host of serious challenges faced by the Somali Canadian Community.
Over the last decade, over 50 young Somali Canadian males have been murdered in Ontario and Alberta.
A number of mothers of the deceased came to Queen’s Park asking for a co-ordinated Government response to end the violence, and are asking for all three levels of Government, Police, Boards of Education and Social Agencies to establish a comprehensive action plan to help the Somali Community put an end to the killings and deal with the root causes of these tragedies.
Positive Change put forward a 5 Point Action Plan for Justice and Hope at the News Conference:
1. The Federal Government establish a Judicial Task Force to investigate the dozens of unsolved murders of Somali-Canadian youth in Alberta and Ontario.
2. Provincial and Federal Government co-operate in creating targeted Employment and Training opportunities for Somali-Canadian youth.
3. The R.C.M.P., O.P.P. and Toronto Police Service make an all-out effort to recruit and employ Somali-Canadian Officers, both male and female.
4. School Boards partner with the Ministry of Education and Somali-Canadian leadership to create a task force to address the Somali-Canadian Community’s concerns:
• the extra high drop-out rates
• under achievement and down streaming of children
• the high number of children in special needs programs
5. Provincial and Federal Governments review and strengthen the Witness Protection Programmes and explore what can be done to better protect witnesses and encourage them to come forward and give evidence when a violent crime is committed, free from intimidation and reprisal.
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