Hundreds of people gathered in Pleasant Hill Park on Tuesday evening for the 19th Annual Day of Mourning.
The event looks to honour and remember those who lost their lives to murder, suicide, overdose and disease related to the sex trade through prayers, blessings by elders, music and a candlelight vigil.
“We hope to educate people that all of these young people that are losing their lives, are people. And they mean something to somebody,” said EGADZ Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre executive director Don Meikle.
A total of 125 people were honoured, including four people who died within the past year.
“It’s an education that we need to honour and respect people even though they make bad choices.”
The Day of Mourning is organized by a youth committee with EGADZ.
“This is the strongest year with the number of youth we had help with this event. It takes months and months of planning, so it’s really special to a lot of people,” said Meikle.
“I help the kids that are involved in the committee to understand and learn that getting involved in this isn’t a good idea because your chances of living a long life are greatly reduced… We need to reach out to the kids and we need to come together as a community with an understanding that sexual exploitation is alive and well in our city.”
Organizers say they will have about a month off before they begin to plan next year’s event.