On November 25, we began 16 days of reflection and activism to eliminate GBV (Gender-Based Violence), culminating in our celebration of Human Rights Day on December 10th.
I was privileged to be asked by the Parksville-Qualicum Beach chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) to participate in and provide leadership for local civic ceremonies to mark the start of the Red Dress campaign, and to recognize the 231 calls to justice on behalf of our Sisters in Spirit, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of this country.
In the circle with local First Nation leaders, elected officials and government leaders of each level of government, including the Hon. Gudie Hutchings, the Federal Minister of Rural and Economic Development, our MP Gord Johns, our mayors and council members, and other local community members, we lit LED candles, stood in silence, and then walked in procession past the red dresses placed visibly in our civic centres for all to see, and placed our candle in a basket in front of a display table with artwork by Birdtail Sioux artist Maxine Noel (“Walk Beyond”), as a sign of our commitment to “walk beyond” where we have walked so far in bringing justice and addressing violence.
As part of our reflection and our activism, our 15-minute video gives you the flavour of how we prepared for and shared in ceremony and broad-based commitment together at the local level.