A single, empty red dress on a clothesline is a lonely sight, poignant and almost poetic in its imagery.
Now take 1,181 red dresses and let’s say they all have owners. One thousand one hundred and eighty-one indigenous Canadian women, missing or murdered and ignored—still poignant?
These dresses exist, and they’re part of the REDress Photography Project to honour and advocate for missing and murdered First Nations women.
The stories of these women are being brought to light and featured in mainstream media by increasingly insistent family, friends and supporters with events like Sunday’s 10th annual march and vigil for Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.
All we can say at The Concordian is it’s about fucking time.
Abstract concepts are always preferable to concrete details when ducking guilt; it makes no difference whether the guilt is personal or corporate. Collectively, we’re not just avoiding responsibility but also hindering the search for answers through our silence.
And collectively leaving these women and families to fight in silence is entirely unacceptable.
Indigenous activists want greater co-operation and collaboration between various levels of government and police forces, including those at the First Nations level, in order to address the frequency of these tragedies.
The rest of Canada should be demanding this collaboration too. Why is it that Canadians turn away from these tragedies? How has our society possibly let almost 1,200 women and children vanish without rising up in arms against this tragedy? What about how CBC is reporting that indigenous activists calculate that number to be closer to 3,000?
When’s the last time you saw an Amber Alert go out for a missing aboriginal child?
Politicians are making promises—or not—about inquiries and investigations on the campaign trail, but a new government will not bring back the missing and murdered. For many, there will be no coming back, but if we want to see the disappeared restored to their families and prevent future loss, regular citizens need to stay engaged.
No, regular citizens need to be on the front lines.
This is not a cause to retweet. The quest for justice will require us to continue speaking for the voiceless, because election promises are just words. We will only see what kind of words they really were were in the months and years following this election.
Regardless of which party is in power, we set the agenda.
And we’re saying that if you want to govern us, then you’re going to fix this. You’re going to give a voice to the voiceless, a location to the disappeared, and give us some answers.
Write to your local MP, demand your elected candidate to represent your views. Don’t be silent till you see answers.
No more missing. No more murdered. No new people to mourn.