Monday, June 17, 2024

Red Dress Day: Candlelight vigil in Fernwood to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women


Why’s that red dress hanging there?

For many, it’s to raise awareness and embody hope—hope that one day, missing Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons will return home.

On Vancouver Island and Canada-wide, many have vanished without a trace, leaving friends and family to face the harsh reality that their loved ones could be gone forever.

A 2019 national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons finds there’s “no reliable estimate” of the number who have gone missing or been murdered.

To shine a light on the countless tragedies, May 5th marks the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Gender diverse people—often known as “Red Dress Day.”

Pointing to resources for awareness, the Government of Canada Indigenous Affairs encourages people to wear red clothing or a red dress pin today.

In Victoria, City Hall will light up red tonight to recognize, honour and raise awareness, as the Belfry Theatre on Gladstone Avenue hosts a ceremony and candlelight vigil at Fernwood Square, rain or shine.

“The Belfy’s been working on Reconciliation for a couple of years now, probably four or five years,” marketing director Mark Dusseault told Victoria Buzz.

“We wanted to do something right in our own neighbourhood to honour this day and in memory of these women and girls.”

All are invited to attend the ceremony, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight and starts with a prayer and welcoming song by the Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers.

Cecilia Dick from the Songhees Nation is the ceremony’s MC, with Lil’ Red Dress Project founder Carla Voyageur, Kwakwaka’wakw artist Rande Cook and Sage Lacerte and David Stevenson from the Moose Hide Campaign also set to speak.

According to organizers, a Ladies Dance by Kwakwaka’wakw will be followed by a moment of silence at 8:30 p.m. and a closing dance by the Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers.

Honouring our Sisters and LGBTQ2+ in Spirit Candlelight Vigil

  • Where: Fernwood Square, Gladstone Ave.
  • When: Thursday, May 5th at 7 p.m. (Rain or shine)

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