To recognize and raise awareness of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (formerly known as Orange Shirt Day), Kingston Police and Kingston Community Health Centre (KCHC) are holding a ceremonial bike ride.
At 9 a.m., the ceremony, held at the KCHC parkette at 263 Weller Avenue, will begin with a smudge and opening statement by Pytor Hodgson (3 Things Consulting) and Logan Jackson (KCHC staff). Remarks by KCHC’s Mike Bell (CEO) and Wendy Vuyk (Director, Community Health); and Kingston Police’s Chief Antje McNeely and Inspector Matt Funnell will follow, according to a release from the event organizers.
Following opening remarks, participating cyclists from Kingston Police, KCHC and Youth Diversion will depart, en route to Confederation Park to attend the Sacred Fire that will be burning there from sunrise to sunset, with a stop at the Katarokwi Learning Centre where students, officers and other participants will interact, according to the release.
Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely stated, “Officers from the CORE (Community Oriented Response and Engagement) Unit, which has the responsibility for police-related bicycle training for its members, felt a bike ride would be an inclusive and visible way to show support and a commitment to listen, learn and reflect on this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Officers in uniform will be wearing orange on their uniforms and other participants will be wearing orange shirts to honour the victims of residential schools with the slogan ‘Every Child Matters.’
“Additionally, on September 30th members both sworn and civilian at Kingston Police headquarters will be observing a moment of silence, offering support to their Indigenous colleagues, and reflecting upon the history of systemic inequities against Indigenous people,” she said.
Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremonies and Sacred Fires as well as to join in the bike ride, estimated to be 6 km in length, taking 20-30 minutes in total, with one rest stop near the halfway point at the Katarokwi Learning Centre, according to the release. To join the ride, helmets are strongly encouraged by organizers, and required for those under 18.
There will also be a Sacred Fire held at KCHC’s Weller site, and all are welcome to attend its lighting at 7 a.m. The fire will be tended by an Indigenous Fire Keeper and the fire will burn until sundown, according to the release.
Funds are being raised to support the work of the Kingston Indigenous Language Nest (KILN) and the Monthly Sacred Fires hosted by the local Indigenous community, the organizers said. Cash donations are welcome, as officers will have marked buckets on-hand during the ride, but a donation is not necessary to participate.