A peaceful protest was held yesterday afternoon at The Creeks development in Weyburn, in response to Weyburn City Council's decision on Monday to deny the Weyburn Group Home Society to build a care home for four residents in the area.
More than sixty braved the freezing cold to advocate for individuals with disabilities. A few shared with Discover Weyburn their reasons for being part of the event.
“The reason for everyone here is to support all individuals with disabilities, and their rights, and their equality and to end the stigma and the discrimination that people have about them.”
“I think we need to educate the fears.”
“I'm here showing support because I don't think it should matter where special needs people want to live. I think they should be able to live wherever they want to live. On a farm, in town, on the outskirts of town. It just doesn't matter to me.”
“We just want to spread equal opportunities for everyone. Everyone deserves equal rights no matter who you are.”
“I don’t want people to think that special needs people are going to decrease their property value. They’re human beings.”
“It’s disheartening, really. I think City Council handled it very poorly. The representation for the people, I feel the residents were poorly misrepresented.”
One former Weyburn resident even drove down from Saskatoon.
"I was pretty upset with what was happening, so I came to show my support. I really care about the participants at the group home."
Others expressed sentiments of disappointment over the decision, some even noting they would love to have a group home in their neighbourhood.
For some, however, the protest hits closer to home.
“My son he's 23 and he has Down's Syndrome and Autism,” said one attendee. “He has a wonderful personality. He has many friends, he has lived his whole life in a private family home. He’s had neighbours, and he’s been to backyard barbecues, he has gone to school and attended programs around Weyburn. He’s been included his whole life. We've been waiting almost three and a half years for a group home for him. My husband and I are getting older and he needs 24-hour care. Our kids who we raised to adulthood deserve to be able to live in a beautiful new subdivision in a home, and the group homes here are wonderful.”
The crowd was lively, cheering on community members as they joined in on the action.