Argos' peace vision

BRIAN GRAY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

From a summer of youths getting shot on Toronto's streets came a plan to Stop the Violence.

The Toronto Argonauts, led by head coach Michael "Pinball" Clemons and team president Keith Pelley, launched the Stop the Violence -- We are Toronto campaign in August in response to the slew of gun death and injuries on the city's streets this year.

Clemons, whose father-in-law was shot to death almost 20 years ago, spoke from the heart in announcing the drive to raise $100,000 for community programs.

"The challenge is to every one of us," Clemons said. "All of us have to do more."

The campaign also included bringing the message to the community with a series of Argo practices held in Toronto neighbourhoods where much of the violence is happening.

It was at one one of those practices -- at West Humber Collegiate -- that Pelley encountered a jarring wake-up call.

When a 6-year-old ignored a request and took a running leap, the boy was asked, "What don't you understand about not jumping on the mascot?" Pelley recounted to a group of community workers at a Stop the Violence symposium at the Rogers Centre in October.

With his hand cocked in the shape of a gun, the boy replied, "What don't you understand about pop, pop, pop?"

Pelley looked into the child's background and found out the youngster lived in a single-parent home and was out on the streets until his mom returned home at 8 p.m.

The campaign has opened a breakfast club at Monarch Park Collegiate with more programs planned in the future.

As Pinball said at the October symposium: "Action with vision is a dream, but action without vision is a nightmare."


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