“Beyond her senseless killing, beyond yet another disturbing instance of guns fired on Canadian streets, is the compassion Rachel Davis showed in trying to protect another human in trouble. As her father said later, it is important that she be recognized as more than someone caught in the crossfire. She made a decision not to ignore a beating, not to consider it someone else’s problem, not to look the other way.” – Globe and Mail editorial
A Brief History
In the early hours of January 4, 2004 in Vancouver, Rachel Davis was fatally shot while protecting a complete stranger from attack by a crowd on the street. She had just turned 23. While the circumstances of Rachel’s death are tragic, they have also been a source of inspiration for millions of people across Canada and beyond.
Since her passing, Rachel’s life and heroism have been honoured in various special ways. She was posthumously awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Vancouver Police Department, as well as the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery.
Rachel was widely known in the skateboarding community throughout the Lower Mainland, and so the City of North Vancouver paid tribute to her life by creating a special “Random Acts of Kindness Pathway” at the Lonsdale Skate Park. A memorial tree was planted in 2005 at the J.F.K. Memorial Forest in Jerusalem, as well as a giant red cedar at Lynn Park in North Vancouver.
Rachel Davis Fund Established
Rachel’s mother, the actor Janet Wright, battled health issues for years until her passing in November of 2016. In 2017 Rachel’s father, Bruce, moved to Victoria to join the other members of the family. Recognizing the benefits and advantages of creating a donor-advised fund in the community where Rachel’s family now lives, in 2018 the Rachel Davis Fund was created at the Victoria Foundation with assets transferred from the former Rachel Davis Foundation.
The new donor-advised fund aims to support organizations and individuals in our community, with the specific goals of honouring outstanding acts of compassion in action by young Canadians, advancing self-esteem and empathy in youth, and supporting victims of violence and their families.
First Grant Awarded to Roots of Empathy
The inaugural grant from the Rachel Davis Fund has been granted to Roots of Empathy, an innovative public education program, now worldwide, that brings infants and their mothers into the classroom to participate in the infant’s emotional development over a school year. Research has confirmed Roots of Empathy’s effectiveness in developing compassion in children from a young age, increasing sharing and helping behaviour, and decreasing aggression and bullying, all with lasting results. The grant provided to Roots of Empathy from the Fund will be used to train two new instructors that will deliver the program here in the Greater Victoria Area.
Rachel’s family is thrilled that her legacy can continue through the Rachel Davis Fund. They look forward to this new chapter in her story, as well as the positive impact that the Fund will have in the community and beyond.
Donate to the Rachel Davis Fund
Globe and Mail editorial: Rachel Davis’s action (published Jan. 6Th, 2004)
Roots of Empathy
“She could not ration her strength.
She could not tolerate those things that
insult the dignity and light in us all.
She could not calculate what she
could afford to give, or in any way
stand by, hold back or remain
silent in the face of danger or deceit.
That is, she was like
all people with strength: open and
vulnerable – and not afraid
to be afraid”.
– Rachel’s family