Gun victim is remembered at memorial service

At a memorial Feb. 7 for Chantel Dunn, a York student who was the innocent victim of gun violence a year ago, students announced a scholarship and the York community pledged to install a commemorative bench in her name.  

Left: Lighting candles for Chantel Dunn            

On Feb. 7, 2006, Dunn died from gunshot wounds after her car was attacked while she was picking up her boyfriend. He was hit but survived. Her murder remains unsolved.

Family and friends, students and faculty, and members of the media gathered at Vanier College Feb. 7 for the memorial service and lecture on the first anniversary of the fatal event.

The Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir performed at the service. And several people expressed sadness over the loss of the second-year student who aspired to become a lawyer: Rob Tiffin, vice-president students; Robert Drummond, dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Darryl Reed, Chair of York’s Division of Social Science, and Pablo Idahosa, coordinator of African Studies and one of Dunn’s professors.

Right: Rob Tiffin, York VP students speaks about Chantel Dunn

Two Glendon undergraduates, Rahel Appiagyei and Chantel Kerr, announced they hope to raise $12,500 to establish a scholarship in memory of Dunn. The York community is donating a commemorative bench and plaque dedicated to Dunn on the Common. 

The memorial ended with a lecture titled "Everybody Matters: Contesting a Raced Discourse of Violence", by Andrea Davis, a humanities and social science professor at York. The lecture focused on the way violence is perceived in Toronto.

Right: Prof. Andrea Davis speaks on the way violence is perceived in Toronto

Two friends, Shellie Stanley and Chenisse Goulding, lit 19 white candles to symbolize the 19 short years of Dunn’s life. Marlene Lewis, a relative of Dunn, thanked everyone for attending and organizing an event that will help to keep Dunn’s life in our memories. 

In an interview later with CBC News, Dunn’s mother, Sandra Walters, said: “People always come up to me and ask me if I am OK. I am not OK. The reason I handle things the way I do is because I know there are others who are going through the same thing. I am not just talking about my family and friends but all the other people out there who are going through the same thing.”