‘We’re all doing heart work,’ say patrol groups who joined Unity Walk in downtown Winnipeg

Several Winnipeg patrol groups came together for a march on Saturday to send a message of safety and the importance of helping those in need in the city.

Organized by the citizen patrol group Bear Clan, participants in the Unity Walk event walked the streets of downtown Winnipeg, where they distributed water and food to people in need.

Kevin Walker, Bear Clan’s acting executive director, said the goal was “to make sure the city and our communities know that we’re united and we stand together, and that we’re going to be united in the future. to strengthen community.”

With recent news focusing on high-profile criminal incidents in the city, an event like Saturday’s Unity March is important to recognize the work of grassroots patrol groups, he said.

Kevin Walker organized the Unity Walk to bring local patrol groups together to recognize the work they do and give back to the community. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

“Having these frontline organizations out on the streets every night…it’s important that we have a moment to come together and show our respect for each other and the work that we do.”

Among the community groups that participated in Saturday’s march were the Mama Bear Clan, West Broadway Bear Clan Patrol, Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin (OPK) and Community 204.

“We all do a job from the heart, we all give back,” said Daniel Hidalgo, founder of Community 204 and co-founder of Sabe Peace Walkers.

For Hidalgo, the walk was an opportunity to meet other local patrol groups and discuss the work they do for their communities.

Daniel Hidalgo is the founder of Community 204 and co-founder of Sabe Peace Walkers. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

“We all shared positive times, positive results and positive interactions with people. I think that’s the biggest and most important goal,” Hidalgo said.

“Our focus is so driven by positivity, love, compassion and empathy – these are qualities that are often overlooked.”

“My Life’s Work”

Responding to community needs is a common goal of the grassroots groups that participated in the march, says the West Broadway Bear Clan Patrol coordinator.

“We’re out there trying to help in any way we can, and it’s about boots on the pitch and moving forward and keeping people together and safe,” Angela Klassen said.

“It’s my life’s work, being a recovering drug addict, and it’s a struggle for me every day, but to stay sober and keep moving forward…I don’t know what I would do without it.”

Angela Klassen of the West Broadway Bear Clan Patrol says she was happy to see so many people show up for the Unity Walk. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

This connection to the community is well established for local patrol groups, which approach their work without judgement, Walker said.

“We meet people where they are, we don’t pass judgement, we don’t confront each other, so that allows us to gain the trust of the community,” he said.

“By keeping us [at] what we’re doing, maintaining that, it’s just going to grow and be a stronger community all around.”

“It’s important to see that people are taking action — it’s not just talking, and there are opportunities for more people to join,” Hidalgo said. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Walking the streets together was also an opportunity for the patrol groups to learn about the work they do.

“It’s important to see people taking part in an action – it’s not just about talking, and there are opportunities for more people to join,” Hidalgo said.

“The people of Winnipeg want to help, they want to reach out, they want to do positive things. They don’t always know how, and this is the perfect opportunity to make it happen.”

WATCH | Winnipeg patrol groups join Unity Walk downtown:

Winnipeg patrol groups join Unity Walk downtown

Winnipeg community groups came together Saturday afternoon to patrol the streets of the city’s downtown and send a unified message of safety and help to those in need.


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