Up with hope, down with dope

  • Aug. 20, 2008 8:00 a.m.

Submitted by Beryl Parke–‘Up with hope’ spirit filled the air at the St. John’s Anglican Church in Old Massett Monday evening. Community members came out in full force to support the notion of Up With Hope – Down With Dope.” Citizens and friends of the Haida met to show support to the family who recently lost a loved one to suicide. The concern raised by all present is that the incident had some connection to the drug dealers in the area. The message received is that the known dealers are harassing the family members who are trying to find out what happened to their loved one to cause him to take his own life. “Down With Dope” is what the community is stating. The citizens agreed unanimously that they do not want this in Old Massett or on the Island. They indicated it is not welcome on the Island and that something has to continue to be done to stop the dealers. One of the messages that came from this gathering Monday evening is that we live here and this is our home, and we cannot depend just on the RCMP to assist us with dealing with this problem. We as citizens have more of a vested interest in cleaning up our community and getting message to dealers they are not welcome. After some dialogue about the concerns and the need to continue to do the work the group rallied together, organized with signs and vehicles and drove through the streets of Old Massett.Fifteen vehicles packed with passengers and signs were led through the streets of Old Massett by four people walking waving signs against the illegal use and selling of drugs, and signs indicating the support will be there for those who speak up. Present in the group were the local minister and members of her congregation, a Hereditary Chief, Leadership from CHN- Old Massett Representatives, Elders, Youth and Friends.The rally saw the group slow down at three main dealers homes in Old Massett. The neighbours on the streets joined in and witnessed the process. The group was excited that the time of evening realized many at home to witness the event and carry the message that there is hope for the community with everyone working together to stop the dealers. There is also hope for the dealers if they are prepared to come forward and ask for help.The spirits were high throughout the evening and the rally ended with many positive comments from all who participated. The spirit of the youth and adults working together made the event even more positive. Children as young as first grade came by to read the signs and ask questions about the rally. The education of our young ones offered a sign that the evening has not gone without positive results. Having the youth interest in what is happening will allow this campaign to continue. It takes a whole community to raise a child, and by working together we are paving the way for a healthier community, healthier children, healthier adults. The group has asked that these walks be kept alive, so in the near future citizens will rally again and not stop until we have created more hope and eradicated dope.