Shoe display to raise awareness on murdered, missing women, children

International Women’s Day event initiated by Red Deer sex assault support centre

A powerful display during International Women’s Day in Red Deer on Wednesday to bring awareness to murdered or still missing women and children in Alberta.

Patricia Arango, executive director of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC), said 300 pairs of shoes will be on display. Each pair will represent individual women and their children. There will be cards on each set of shoes, telling a story about the people they represent.

For example: “M.P. is a mother from the Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, Alberta. The 37-year-old was reported missing on March 30, 2015. The investigation revealed she was last seen in Enoch Cree Nation, on March 14, 2015. Mayerthorpe RCMP is handling the missing persons case and has conducted ground searches around the area. RCMP say M.P. has ties to Manitoba but it’s also possible she may travel to Edmonton or the lower mainland of British Columbia.”

Arango said the display, which uses individuals’ initials and not their full names, is meant to be a reflection, not a celebration, and incorporates women and children in Alberta who have been murdered or gone missing in the past five years. The names of people represented by the display “A Reflection Not a Celebration” were researched by CASASC.

She said she came up with the idea while thinking about a way to recognize International Women’s Day, and the response has been strong.

Several other local organizations — such as Women’s Outreach, Red Deer’s aboriginal community, Central Alberta Refugee Effort Society, the Golden Circle — are involved as well. The shoes, which do not actually belong to the murdered and missing women, have been loaned to the display by people in the community.

The event will be held at the old Sport Check location in Parkland Mall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there will be support groups on hand, Arango said.

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