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By Paul-Mark Rendon
The recent stabbing death of Michael Goldie-Ryder at a downtown bar has spurred five friends to campaign to raise public awareness towards violence.
Friends Against Sudden Endings was founded in memory of Goldie-Ryder, a former schoolmate of the five women who decided to start a gold ribbon campaign in his honour.
Nicole Beaumier, co-founder of FASE, said the campaign is targeting youth in an effort to decrease violence. "We're about standing up for our generation. We want to make sure another friend is not killed this way," she said.
FASE proposes mandatory metal detectors at all downtown bars, a greater police presence in the downtown core, female door staff to dispel any gender association about who carries a weapon and better taxi service to the bars.
"In the long-term, we want to take this all the way through to legislation and to educate youth, beginning with elementary students," Alvaro said.
Beaumier added they will be handing out ribbons at all downtown bars on the evening of Feb. 13.
Sgt. John O'Flaherty of the London police said the police are behind the campaign. "Fixing up downtown is not just our priority, it's the people's priority.
"We're trying to decrease the overall crime rate. There is no doubt this will help," he said.
Joe Swan, a councillor for Ward 2, also declared his support for the campaign and said he hopes the community gets behind the effort.
Despite London police's commitment to a greater presence in the downtown core, O'Flaherty acknowledged the difficulty to erase violence entirely. "When you have many people leaving a bar at 2 a.m. with alcohol and testosterone in their system, [violence] is going to happen," he said.
Vit Shatkin, co-owner of Call the Office, a bar located at Clarence and York streets, agreed, calling for harsher penalties and fines for offenders.
Shatkin applauded the campaign and said it raises important issues. "It's brought publicity, it's brought awareness," he said.
Shatkin added a meeting between the bar owners, London police, FASE and city hall officials to discuss safety measures for bars is scheduled for Feb. 11.