Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, Jan. 18


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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 6:30 p.m., Aug. 25)
Friends and family gather in Blackburn Park to celebrate the legacy of Dapo Agoro

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Shola Agoro enjoys some cotton candy with her daughter Omolara during the 14th annual Dapo Fun Day in Blackburn Hamlet. Seyi Malcolm/Photo

It's hard to believe that it's been 14 years since Blackburn Hamlet teen Dapo Agoro was stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight at a downtown dance club.

If he was still alive today, Dapo would be 32 years old. Unfortunately, he was the victim of an all too frequent attack involving a knife.

That same summer he was killed, his family organized the first ever Dapo Fun Day to celebrate his life and to promote non-violent conflict resolution, particularly among teens. A year later they formed the Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace and the two events have been synonomous ever since.

On Aug. 20, close to 100 family and friends gathered in the Blackburn Park for the 14th annual Dapo Fun Day, and although the weather was perfect and a good time was had by all, the message of peace and non-violent conflict resolution was an undeniable, underlying theme. In fact, this year's Fun Day T-shirts were a take on the phrase Keep Calm and Carry On, but instead of Keep Calm and Carry On, they read Keep Calm and Keep The Peace. Other T-shrits sported Dapo's graduation portrait with the phrase "Together we can make an impact on youth violence".

Besides lots of great food, the event featured live entertainment, a dunk tank, face-painting, cotton candy and a few friendly soccer games.

At the centre of all the activities were Dapo's parents, Abiola and Bashir Agoro, and his sisters Shola and Moji who are carrying on Dapo's legacy along with young people like this year's Dapo Agoro Memorial Award For Peace recipient Katie Xavier from Lester B. Pearson High School.

Orléans MP Andrew Leslie was also on hand to deliver a message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to everyone in attendance in the form of a letter.

"I commend you for supporting this worthy cause. Your contributions help strengthen the community and create a better future for us all," wrote the PM. "On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my best wishes for an enjoyable day and for every success in meeting your fundraising goal."

The Dapo Agoro Foundation for Peace was launched to promote non-violent conflict resolution amoung the youth in our community, and to raise awareness over the growing issue of knife violence among young people.

Despite the fact that assaults and deaths involving knives are on the rise, the courts still treat knife crime less harshly than crimes commited with firearms. The Agoro family and their supporters feel this needs to change and they've been lobbying provincial and federal politicians to stengthen the laws and sentencing for criminals who use knives in the commission of a crime.

Unfortunarely in the 14 years since Dapo's death, there has been very little movement towards change. The Agoros, however, remain unswayed and continue to raise awareness wherever and whenever they can.

The Dapo Fun Day is held every year on the third Saturday in August.

Photos by Seyi Okuribido-Malcolm...

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)





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