I've participated in various "walks" over the years- not the angry, hate-filled, vulgarity spewing kind of walks that bring more chaos into the world, but more so the ones that connect deeply with my heart. Not to say the angry protests don't challenge culture and ignite change agents among us, but I prefer the walks where it is more about a community coming together in peace for a cause. There is something about gathering with like-minded people who are seeking to heal and bring answers to heinous problems in our world.
"Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde marked October 4, a day when Sisters in Spirit Vigils are held across the country in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), by calling for immediate action to achieve safety, security and justice for Indigenous women and girls and their families."
Humbling, emotional, empowering.
Over the years, I've walked to stand up against the evils of sexual abuse, human trafficking and most recently, the walk to support families who are counted among the hundreds of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (MMIWG). It takes much effort to gather, to stand in solidarity, to be united in a cause with diverse individuals you may or may not ever see again.
Why do I show up?
I see these walks as an act of worship to fight the good fight, and to ask myself:
When we "Show up" be it in prayer, walks, or simply the position of our hearts towards a cause or another- we can have hope for a better future. I truly believe that restoration begins in the heart, extends to our families and seeks to engage the world. What begins to end the injustice and indifference, is when we start seeing the image of God in everyone.
"Indigenous women and girls have an equal right to live in a safe and secure environment,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde who is attending a vigil today in Ottawa. “Ending violence against women and girls is a priority every day. The AFN Chiefs in Assembly passed a resolution this summer calling for a reset and change to the mandate and process of the inquiry. We ask that the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls take a ‘families first’ approach in all its work. We are seeking immediate action, support, and resources for those affected while the Inquiry continues its important work.
Today, we honor and lift up our daughters, sisters, aunties, mothers, and families. We convey our love and support to the families of missing and murdered First Nations women. I ask that all Canadians stand with us today to support change and reconciliation.
Indigenous women are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than another woman,” Chair of the AFN Women's Council Grand Chief Denise Stonefish said. “It is important to acknowledge that these women often leave behind family and loved ones. The October 4th annual vigils continue to support the families of Sisters in Spirit and serve as a reminder that the violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls must end. This day honors the lives of MMIWG and remembers our Sisters everywhere.”
Sisters in Spirit Vigils, hosted for the first time in 2006 by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, takes place internationally every October 4 to honor the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and facilitates healing for families."