Residents of Surrey rally to take back their community

VANCOUVER – People in Surrey took to the streets Sunday afternoon, rallying to take back their community.

The demonstration comes nearly two weeks after 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch was found dead near the city works yard.

At the beginning of the rally, Serena’s family read a statement expressing their gratitude to the community for their support. In their statement they said, “Serena we failed you.”

“It will not bring her back, but it would be heartening to know that another family will not be mourning the loss of a daughter and sister taken to soon,” read the statement.

READ MORE: Arrest made in murder of Surrey teen

Organizers say the rally is also in response to the murder of hockey mom Julie Paskall who was killed last December.

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Many people who live in Surrey say they don’t feel safe anymore and are asking for public safety to be the number one priority during the municipal election.

“People are tired of being told crimes are rare, random, or that we don’t have anything to fear and that Surrey is a safe place to live when we’re the ones that live here, we’re the ones that know, we want to be heard, we need a voice at the table,” said Nadia Robinson, community activist. “We need politicians to understand we do know that there’s an election coming up in 49 days and we’re going to be voting and we’re going to be listening to what they have to say and we’re going to vote based on our concerns.”

The rally started at 2 p.m. outside the Newton Seniors’ Centre.

The rally also comes on the third anniversary of Maple Batalia’s death. She was gunned down at SFU Surrey after a late night study session. Maple’s mom was also at the rally in the afternoon.

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“The residents of Surrey have had enough with the revolving door of justice. We want to take back our city,” says rally organizer Dianne Kaufman.