The City of Brampton is organizing a candlelight vigil tonight (Tues Feb 19th) in response to the collective grieving by residents over the death of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar on Valentine’s Day. While circumstances around Riya’s death are still unclear, her father is expected to be charged with first degree murder once he is cleared by medical staff from self-inflicted injuries.
The city’s vigil tonight starts at 5:45pm in Garden Square at the north-east corner of Main St and Queen St in downtown Brampton. Residents are advised to dress warmly. Parking is available under City Hall and the Rose Theatre.
Throughout the day in Garden Square, members of Beaux Art Brampton and Visual Arts Brampton will be sharing messages of hope and inspiration through chalk art. The Vigil will include prayers by faith leaders, songs by Brampton Music Theatre members, a spoken word recital, a poem from a member of the Brampton Moms Facebook Group, words from acting Chief of Police Chris McCord, and a message from Mayor Brown delivered by his wife Genevieve Gualtieri. Local organizations will also be present to contribute. Family members of Riya are not expected to attend.
Nikki Cedrone from Neighbourhood Watch Brampton will Emcee the vigil. She has been at the forefront of efforts to raise funds in memory of Riya to cover funeral costs and assist Riya’s mom in her time of grieving. The fund had an initial goal of $2,500 but has quickly raised over $36,000 from residents across Canada. The fund will be closed at 12pm on Wednesday. A donor wall of messages included a note from one of Riya’s classmates:
” I will miss u. All of your friends will miss u. I had fun with you. You will always be remembered. RIP Riya”
The Catholic Family Services of Peel-Dufferin has offered walk in counselling to the community:
Our hearts and prayers go out to Riya Rajkumar’s family #RiyaRajkumar. Our walk in counselling clinic is available to the community on Tuesdays in Mississauga from 1230 to 730pm and in Brampton on Thursdays from 1230 to 730pm.
— CFSPD (@CFSPD) February 18, 2019
Riya’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at a funeral home in Etobicoke, however, the family has not indicated if it is open to the public.