On Friday September 6th 2013 at “Meet Me @ the Bell Tower – Studies Begin…Masters Continue” on Selkirk Ave/Powers Street it was shared that a young woman was abducted and held inside a house in the St John’s area. The most alarming element of the story was the fact that this young lady revealed that there were other girls being held inside the house as well. We were also alerted of another incident in the West End area of the city where a similar situation occurred as well. This alarmed our group and since our rallies occur every Friday @ 6, we decided to focus our message on Friday September 13th, 2013 on “PROTECTING OUR WOMEN”. We would use this as an opportunity to discuss what we as residents of the community can do to help find these girls, and also how can we prevent these things from happening in the future.
On the weekend the story spread across our social networks and was received by many grassroots citizens who were also concerned. We are grateful for the support of our online community, but were disturbed to hear many other people come forward with stories that have led many to believe that there is a house in the St John’s Neighbourhood that at this very moment could have our neighbourhood girls/women inside of it being held against her will inside of a house. We are also alarmed at the many stories of authorities responding inappropriately, if they respond at all. Many grassroots groups have come forward wanting to lend their support to the cause including: grassroots security groups, community Elders and front line warriors who search for our missing women day in and day out. We are grateful for their support and are willing to use the Bell Tower as a space where we can organize ourselves as a community to respond appropriately and safely to these incidents that occur in our own back yard. What is our role as citizens in keeping our women, children and neighbours safe?
During this week, main stream media outlets also picked up the story. Unfortunately they focussed primarily on the helplessness of our community. Much of the coverage was incomplete and included no mention of the community rallying together for action was included in these mainstream newscasts; this could not be further from the truth. Many groups and individuals continue to come forward pledging their support for our intention – bring our community together and protect our women. The tragedy of these events have revealed that we are not a community divided, helpless and afraid; we are united, we are strong and we are beginning to work together to solve these issues.
Are we mad? Hell yea. Are we scared? You bet. Are we going to sit by and do nothing while our women and children are taken from our streets and abused or are neglected from our authorities? Never. This is a chance for our hood to stand up. This is a chance to show that brave girl who escaped and warned us of this situation despite her fears of retaliation…just how much back up she has. They say we are supposed to pick and choose our battles. Well, this is a battle I will fight as long as there is air in my lungs.
– MC & Bell Tower Crew