Jeffrey’s death and ugly issues facing youth

Community News & Features Nov 16, 2004 at 1:42 pm

(Last part of the speech by Joel Reodica at the Consultation conference, “Strengthen Our Community for Social Justice,” Oct. 30, 2004 at Metro Hall in Toronto.)

The subject officer has been cleared and may already be back on the streets of Toronto!

We are scared; we are angry; we are frustrated; but most of all we are not going to stand still.
I am appealing to all people, all communities, all media outlets, all businesses, and all politicians to realize that this is a critical problem that affects people of ALL ages and nationalities, especially the youth of Toronto Your children, nieces, nephews and fellow young people may be at risk. The last thing we want is another family to ever experience such a nightmare. Now our small, vulnerable family has been placed against a mammoth Police force with most cases ending in their favour. It seems a very unfair match.

My personal mission is to speak and stand up on behalf of my late brother, my young nephew and all children and young people. The goal is to peacefully call for truth and justice for Jeffrey and to ensure that this will never happen again.

It pains me knowing that he’s gone, more so, realizing that so many others are still torn and weeping inside.

I have great faith that my brother’s death will not be in vain, rather that his life was sacrificed for a greater purpose.

As a result, family, friends and community members formed the Justice For Jeffrey Reodica Coalition to organize a solid impact onto law enforcement and government agencies.

Coroner’s Inquest

Thankfully, immediately following the release of the SIU Result, the Chief Coroner of Ontario, a government agency, announced that a Coroners Inquest will be held into the death of Jeffrey. The inquest would review the events surrounding Jeffrey’s death and that the inquest jury may make recommendations aimed preventing similar deaths. At the Inquest, an assessment of all evidence and a thorough cross-examination of all witnesses and involved officers will be done under oath and scrutiny of a jury. We welcome the Coroner’s Inquest and heavily rely on it to reveal the real truth in what actually happened that fateful day. This will bring us that much closer to finally achieving our goal. The evidence and facts exposed at the Coroner’s Inquest will hopefully lead to criminal charges against the officers.

Fundraising

At this time, the Coroner’s Office has not yet scheduled the Inquest – it has other unresolved inquests to complete first. In the meantime, our main focus is a massive Fundraising Drive.

It is imperative that we have a voice at the Inquest. The cost of legal representation at the Coroner’s Inquest alone can easily amount to at least $100,000 assuming it will only last one full month. Overall legal costs may exceed far more than $200,000. To date only about $20,000 has been raised. Alone we cannot afford the associated legal fees. Funds are desperately needed in order for us to continue our quest for justice. On behalf of my family and the Justice for Jeffrey Coalition, I am appealing to everyone here today and all people of Toronto, of Canada and abroad to generously make a donation towards the Jeffrey Reodica Memorial Trust Fund. All funds raised go directly towards covering the costs of the legal battle. We will be organizing fundraising events of various sorts and very shortly the Justice for Jeffrey Coalition will commence a thorough Solicitation Letter campaign to be sent out to anyone and everyone asking for donations and support.

We all share a common dilemma and are calling on all cultures and communities, including all young people alike and media outlets, to join in our quest for justice. Here are a few other things you can do:

• Simply encourage awareness of and involvement in this issue among everybody you know: family, friends, school, work, organizations, communities & associations

• Sign Petition forms appealing for truth and justice available for download and online submission on Jeffrey’s Memorial Website

• Donate to the trust fund at any HSBC Bank and TD Canada Trust to help pay costly legal fees and expenses

• Attend one of the several Fundraising events are in the works and will be coming soon including benefit concerts, basketball tournaments, eating contests, t-shirt sales and more

• Participate in Community events including protest rallies, forums and youth meetings will be held to voice our concerns

• Supporth the Youth Committee which has been formed by the Coalition to help young people cope with the loss of Jeffrey; to address related youth issues including violence, bullying, racism, police brutality and police accountability; and to empower youth with knowledge of their (legal) rights when encountered by police

• Volunteer! Volunteers in each and every form are always welcome and individuals interested in helping lead the Justice for Jeffrey Campaign are encouraged to join the Coalition.

TYC joins fight

I am glad to announce that the Toronto Youth Cabinet, the City of Toronto’s official advisory group on youth issues, has recently joined our quest and fully supports the Justice for Jeffrey Campaign. They are currently fighting a ban on all youth events at Scarborough’s Albert Campbell Square that forced the cancellation of a planned family festival in memory of Jeffrey. The Toronto Youth Cabinet also plans to support in various ways including high school forums, awareness, and fundraising events.

I urge you to stay up to date with our campaign, please regularly visit Jeffrey’s Memorial website at www.reodica.com/jeff. And I encourage you to visit the Justice for Jeffrey Table outside and complete one of the sign up sheets with your name and contact information in support of our campaign as a member of an organization, business or simply as a concern citizen. By signing up today we will also be able to send you in the near future a copy of the Fundraising Solicitation Letter, the integral element of our Fundraising Drive.

Ladies and gentlement, nothing can ever bring Jeffrey back, but with your help we can greater our chances of achieving justice for Jeffrey, and ultimately, justice for all!

Thank you and God bless you all.

***

Joel Reodica is 23 years old and the middle child between his sister and younger brother.
He was born here in Toronto and has lived here ever since.

He has been involved in CFC-Youth For Christ, and various volunteer and extracurricular activities.
He graduated as Valedictorian in Grade School, served as Student Council President at Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary (the same high school as Jeffrey) and received the Community Service Award in recognition of his involvement throughout his high school career.

Joel went on to study Audio Engineering and, before his brother was killed, intended to return to school to study Radio Television Broadcasting.

Starting at age 14 he discovered his love for music. Since 1995, Joel has been DJing professionally with the 5th Element Sound Crew at some of Canada’s largest venues including the SkyDome, National Trade Centre, Tonic Nightclub, and the Guvernment Entertainment Complex. He also operates Sound Core Productions, the formal entity of 5th Element, specializing in servicing Weddings and Debuts.

Since the death of his brother, Joel has stepped away from his work and education to focus entirely on the Justice for Jeffrey Campaign.