On Wednesday, the second Hope in the Darkness walk for youth mental health awareness began with Winnipeg as the starting point.
Hope in the Darkness was started in 2018 by Kevin Redsky, a 17-year member of the Anishinabek Police Service. Two teams walked from opposite ends of Canada and met in Winnipeg.
This year the walk is all about sending a message of hope and empowerment.
Local law enforcement came together to show support.
Intended to be a call to action, organizers say the event is an avenue for addressing the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
Redsky says the focus of this year’s walk is to challenge members of law enforcement to connect with communities and youth.
“And again, this is a challenge to police officers with all the media that’s going around south of the border, here within Canada, the conduct of police officers, racism is huge,” said Redsky before he left for Vancouver from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
“So we need to address that for us to develop those relationships with police community and youth.”
Over 90 days Redsky will walk to Vancouver, stopping in communities along the way to engage people on youth mental health and improving police relations.
The Winnipeg Police Service is an official partner of the walk, and as Insp. Bonnie Emerson explains, events like this one are more important than ever.
“These types of events are, have been happening for years, I think the need for them now has only intensified and our support for them and for youth has only increased. So the message is, the Winnipeg Police Service, our Indigenous Partnership unit, community support division and the Winnipeg Police Service as a whole, we are open to dialogue, to ways to have these conversations and to look at how we can better support.”
The schedule and route are available online. Redsky hopes to arrive in Vancouver on October 12.