Gathered at the Sails in downtown Kelowna, Eli’s mother and father ask any aquantances of Eli to come forward and share a story about the late 16-year-year old on Sunday evening, July 7, 2019. (David Venn - Capital News)

Eli to be remembered by bridging the gap between Kelowna’s communities

The candlelight vigil brought together people from all walks of life

In the hopes of a few attendees, perhaps Elijah-lain Beauregard’s candlelight vigil on the evening of Sunday, July 7, could be a milestone in breaking the housed-homeless divide.

Throughout the diverse crowd, people shouted their favourite stories of Eli. From one attendee: “He was a little daredevil!” Another said, “Eli, you touched a few old souls out there.” And from one lady who, admittingly, did not know Eli, she said, “He was loved. That is so beautiful.”

The atmosphere shifted from a sense of hampered joy in remembrance, to melancholic reality when a woman shouted that this could happen to anyone. “Something has to change. Things can change if we all say something.”

Since Eli’s death, his father has emphasized the need for public dialogue regarding homelessness in attempts to negate the odds of such an incident happening again.

READ MORE: Dozens remember life of slain teen at candlelight vigil in downtown Kelowna

“I think by bringing everyone together like this, we break barriers,” Eli’s father Robyn Beauregard said.

Jeanette Fischer lives on the street. She attended the vigil and placed a flag made of tattered yellow fabric and a light brown stick on the ground. On the flag were purple and orange scribbles, articulating her frustration with the stigma that engulfs the homeless population.

“You are sick of homeless people? Well, we are sick of being homeless,” she said.

Before Eli began living in precarious housing, he grew up in Penticton skateboarding, attending school and, as lifelong friend Ayden Chura explained it, being one of the “S—t-disturbing twins.”

READ MORE: The life of Eli’s father: How a youth stab-victim ended up on the streets

“Good or bad: there wasn’t one thing we couldn’t do together,” Chura’s mother laughed and brought her hand to her face, nodded and shook her head all in one motion. “Mom knows,” he said.

Chura and his family attended the vigil at a skate park in Penticton the night prior, on Saturday, July 7, where many of the attendees were figures of Eli’s youth; whether they were teachers, friends, parents of friends and whomever else. Coming to Kelowna, a fair portion of the mourners were from the transient community; a glaring sight in which the contrasting and adjacent roads of Bernard and Leon Avenue drew parallels.

“This is the way it really should be,” Chura said. “You shouldn’t have to sit there and judge somebody about whether they are homeless or not because in all honesty, you really don’t know their story.”

READ MORE: Stabbing victim succumbs to injuries in Kelowna hospital

Beauregard said any funds received by donation will go to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs (OBGC). He and the OBGC may potentially create a space in Eli’s honour, in which teenagers get to decide what activities are available for them. Or as Beauregard explained it, “Whatever it is that kids are into these days that will keep them off the street.

“You might see someone who is down on their life; don’t judge them. They have a family that loves them just as much as you love your family.”

READ MORE: Downtown Kelowna stabbing victim in critical condition


@davidvenn_
David.venn@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Boil water notice lifted for some residents on the west side of Okanagan Lake

Two-hundred and seventy property owners in the Westshoe Estates Subdivision can now safely drink their water again

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

Okanagan inmate charged in Princeton kidnapping gets second trial extension

Afshin Maleki Ighani said he was unprepared for trial due to issues around a full disclosure package

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Hundreds attend first annual climate and food conference in Kelowna

Over 25 industry experts spoke at the two-day event

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

South Okanagan man charged following armed standoff gets bail

Information on the proceedings is limited due to publication ban

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Most Read