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Event designed to honor Ashlynne Mike, promote child safety

Community members hold a vigil for Ashlynne Mike on May 3, 2016, at the San Juan Chapter house.
Community members hold a vigil for Ashlynne Mike on May 3, 2016, at the San Juan Chapter house.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times

Story highlights

  • The event honors Ashlynne Mike, who was kidnapped and murdered in May 2016.
  • The event will begin with a 5k run and walk at the San Juan Chapter house.
  • At 10 a.m., a motorcycle run will depart Shiprock for the chapter house, followed by the opening ceremony there at 11:30 a.m.
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Variety of groups will offer information, resources at event

FARMINGTON — The effort by Ashlynne Mike's family to promote child safety continues at an event Saturday at the San Juan Chapter house.

The 2018 Ashlynne Mike Memorial Run and Child Safety Awareness Event honors the life of the 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in May 2016 by sharing information about keeping children safe.

"We want people in our community, across our Navajo Nation and even across the United States to be aware of how to keep children safe, and this is the purpose of this event," Gary Mike, Ashlynne's father, said.

"It is also a way to give back to the people who have expressed their sympathy and their prayers during our tragic moments nearly two years ago. It is also a way to help me deal with the tragedy," Mike said.

For the second year, the event will provide information for parents and children about practicing safety, as well as offering tips for parents about home and school safety and the value of developing good communication.

The resources provided at the event will come from the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Restoring Ancestral Winds Inc., NavajoYES and groups that advocate for missing and exploited children.

Mike said since his daughter's death, he has noticed many parents being proactive in keeping their children safe, including accompanying them to school bus stops on the reservation.

"I think Ashlynne opened our eyes to what our society has become," he said.

He also commended Ashlynne's mother, Pamela Foster, for advocating for children's safety to lawmakers and sharing the message of developing child abduction notification systems on tribal lands.

"Our family doesn't want anyone to go through what we went through. This is one of the reasons we want to hold this event every year," Mike said.

The event will begin with a 5k run and walk at the San Juan Chapter house. Registration opens at 7 a.m., and the run starts at 8 a.m.

"We had a good turnout last year, and we wanted to do it again because people wanted to run for her and run for those children who were taken through child violence," Mike said.

At 10 a.m., a motorcycle run will depart Shiprock for the chapter house, followed by the opening ceremony there at 11:30 a.m.

The Arizona Public Service Co. will name the winner of a child safety awareness poster contest at 11:40 a.m.

Other activities include lunch service at noon followed by presentations by Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty and Yolanda Francisco-Nez from Restoring Ancestral Winds Inc.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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