An upcoming anti-gang forum is seeking to educate parents and empower youth in memory of innocent Surrey gang execution victim Chris Mohan.
The Chris Mohan Memorial Youth Forum is an all-day event taking place at Queen Elizabeth Secondary (9457 King George Blvd.) on May 26, with the morning geared toward parents and an afternoon session for youth.
Parents will hear from Eileen Mohan about the life and legacy of her son Chris (pictured below), who was one of six people killed in a Surrey highrise in October 2007. Chris and another man, Ed Schellenberg, were innocent victims caught in the middle of a gang hit. Police believe the pair were murdered because the killers didn’t want any witnesses to the other four shootings.
“I want Christopher’s legacy to be looked on as, ‘This should never happen again. Innocent life should never be taken. You must always choose life before death’,” said Mohan. “Through a horrible and very tragic situation, we have a group of people who have come together to empower youth and to show the community that when we put our minds together, good things will result.”
The forum will also feature Supt. Tom McCluskie, head of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s Gang Task Force and Kim Bolan, crime reporter for The Vancouver Sun.
Youth will hear from peers who have navigated life’s challenges to become successful young adults in an interactive session aimed toward identifying character strengths.
“We know that early intervention is essential, so we need to engage youth and their parents about the warning signs and deadly consequences of gang activity,” said Mayor Dianne Watts. “This forum will help educate families and serve as an important legacy for Chris Mohan, an innocent victim of gang violence.”
The focus on promoting youth strengths as a means for gang and violence prevention reflects ongoing work by the forum’s host organization, the Acting Together SSHRC-CURA project at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
“This forum is a great opportunity for youth to talk to each other about the issues around youth violence in the community, and it gives parents an opportunity to share their views and concerns,” said Steve Dooley, a co-investigator at Acting Together.
“The event says that the community really does want to create opportunities for meaningful dialogue about the issues that are going on, and it’s a way to honour Chris Mohan and help other youth avoid getting into trouble in the spirit of his name.”
To learn more or to register, visit actingtogether.ca or call 604-599-2961 before May 20. Registration is free, but space is limited.