Newsactivism: Beyond writing, there is action !

by christinem on May 17, 2013 - 5:33pm

At the very beginning of the semester, the major part of my posts was about Egypt, because there were a lot of controversial issues happening there. Most of my posts described the explicit and unacceptable violence and corruption growing in Egypt since the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood. What I found most intriguing is that the more I read about this issue, the more I was able to discern a correlation between the corruption that was being propagated and the increasing rate of violence. I was absolutely fascinated by this issue and I wanted to learn more about it throughout the year. However, when came the time to write my super post, it was difficult to focus on one area in which this corruption was centered. I also knew that I would have to volunteer in this field later in the semester. Therefore, I decided to elaborate on the same subject of interest, but to research it on a local level. In other words, in my super-post, I explained and talked about different aspects concerning the violence related to the Mafia and street gangs in Montreal. I talked about how The Mafia and street gangs are “vicious circles in which revenge and power are the main ambitions. Once you get involved, you cannot come out.” I also insisted on the fact that no one wants their children to end up getting involved in something much bigger and stronger than them that will most probably lead to their own death. In order to solve this critical phenomenon of violence, I established three direct ways to intervene and act. The first one was to investigate and find the roots of this corruption in our government with the help of professional experts and members of the SPVM. The second one was that the government could invest more money to hire more professional and experienced investigators that would be ready to start efficient operations to stop all these criminals that our society usually underestimates.  This money could also be used to get more patrols on the streets during the night or the hours of the day they judge to be the most dangerous. The third way I established was to start by spreading awareness and act within the young population to protect them from all potential dangers related to street gangs, they are expected to face in the future.

The more I read about this issue, the more I felt how urgent it was to start acting to stop this phenomenon. When I was offered the opportunity to volunteer, I decided to put in practice the third strategy I established in my super post, which was to spread awareness about violence related to street gangs and to act within youth to help them understand the risks of getting involved in street gangs. In my organizational research, I learnt about a multitude of organizations that offered volunteer opportunities, which promoted actions to stop violence from a young age. I chose to volunteer with L.O.V.E Quebec because I appreciated their set of values, the actions they accomplished in the past years, but mostly their approach to the problem of violence related to street gangs. L.O.V.E (Leave Out Violence) Quebec is an organization that aims to reduce violence in the lives of 13 to 18 year old adolescents who have been either actors or victims of violence in our communities by creating a group of young people who communicate a message of non-violence to the community using the media. I contacted this organization and I received an answer a month later saying that if I wished to volunteer directly and to be in contact with youth I would have to send my C.V., wait for an interview and expect an answer later. This would have been impossible for me to do since the semester was coming to its end. I proposed to do a PowerPoint presentation that would explain the dimension of the problem of street gangs in our society, its causes, consequences as well as some strategies that would help solving or reducing this problem. I received a reply saying that the organization really appreciates the idea but that there was no guarantee that they would use it on their website or during their interventions, since they have to evaluate the pertinence of its content. Also, a copy of this PowerPoint will be provided to the CSA, because it can complement any of their presentations next semester if they are treating of violence or street gangs. All the information provided in the PowerPoint is supported by statistics and reliable sources.

News summaries:

“According to an article written by Paul Cherry and published on The Gazette website on the 9th of April 2013, Jimmy Cournoyer, member of the West End Gang, was accused of importing tones of marijuana from Montreal and exporting it to the United States. In fact, Cournoyer is responsible of the spreading of at least 100, 000 pounds of “hydroponic marijuana” from Canada to New York, Brooklyn and Queens Island. By 2009, as stated in the summary of the case filed in court, “Cournoyer was sending at least 1,000 pounds of marijuana to New York per week, and was planning to expand his business to 5,000 pounds of marijuana per week”. Also, according to a second article written by CBC News and published on the CBC News website on the 17th of April 2013, Harry Mytil, member of one of Montreal street gangs, was shot in the garage of his residence at Laval. After receiving numerous calls from citizens who heard gunshots from their home, the police arrived and found Mytil dead inside his car. According to another article on this issue, published on The Gazette website and written by Paul Cherry on the 17th of April 2013, Mytil had participated, over the last decade, in a home invasion and had very strong ties with the reputated street gang known under the name of Bo-Gars. At the moment of his death, Mytil had a case pending for charges of irresponsible driving and not stopping at the scene of an accident. As stated in the same article, “Mytil's death comes eight months after Chenier (Big) Dupuy, a leader in the Bo-Gars” who was shot in the parking of a shopping mall in Anjou.”

All of these three articles reflect the dimensional magnitude of the phenomenon of street gangs in Montreal as well as its consequences. In fact, violence, murders, drug addiction, prostitution and corruption are just the fruits of the presence of street gangs in Montreal. These articles become striking at the point when one starts imagining that the young man who will be consuming the drugs that were sold by Cournoyer is his son or brother. These articles become striking at the point when one starts imagining that the prostitute that worked for Mytil is his sister or daughter. Street Gang violence does not only affect people who are involved in them; they affect every single citizen of this province and this country.

I believe that these news articles justify the importance of my volunteering work and explicitly show how critical the situation is. They give concrete examples of the people we don’t want our generations to be like. They also illustrate what our population will be like if we do not put effort, if do not do concrete actions and if we do not spread awareness. My volunteer work with L.O.V.E (Leave Out Violence) Quebec is not only about supporting youth who experienced violence, it is about creating a generation empty of corruption and violence who will have enough potential and honesty to properly serve and protect its country.

Links to news summaries: