Retired BC Lion Speaks to Prince Rupert Students on Ending Violence

Brittany Webster

"In the end, we may not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

This quote from Martin Luther King is how 2011 Grey Cup Champion JR LaRose closed out his presentation on being more than a bystander in Prince Rupert today.

Students from Charles Hays Secondary and Pacific Coast schools gathered at the Lester Centre this morning to hear LaRose talk about ending violence against women.

The retired CFL player and ambassador from Aboriginal people speaks on ending violence throughout Canada and the states, and says educating the younger generation is where change can really start.

"I think true change starts with the younger generation. We talk about anti-violence against women and the program that I just did, I wish we had a program like this when I was in highschool, because I think for a lot of people it is just a lack of knowledge. They don't know what to do when faced with different situations, they think that it's a superhero approach, something drastic has to happen in order to intervene, but something as simple as creating a distraction or asking the person 'Are you OK' goes a long way."

LaRose's presentation fits well with the first chapter of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indiginous Women that was released this morning.

The first chapter, Centring Relationships to End Violence, looks at starting with relationships in the goal to end violence, and LaRose agrees that power to change starts in the home and modelling to those around you healthy and stable relationships.

"True change starts in behind closed doors, what happens behind closed doors. We talk about ending violence, it's how it's modelled at home, and I think it starts as simple as the objectifying remarks, maybe it's the sexist comments, the jokes that we make behind closed doors now lead to different things - the verbal which can lead up to the physical. But at the end of the day, if we're trying to create real change, we need to model that to our kids, our young boys that are seeing how their dad acts at home and how he treats his mom."

LaRose grew up surrounded by violence and abuse against his mother and sister, and is now a family man trying to be a role model to his two boys at home and using his life experiences and public platform to educate others on ending violence.

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