Chants of “no more stolen sisters” and “no justice, no peace” echoed through the streets of downtown Red Deer, as more than 30 people aimed to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, 2-spirit plus, and transgender victims.
A rally was hosted in Coronation Park on Saturday. Participants marched from the park and travelled west on 50 St. until they reached Red Deer City Hall.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women “is not an issue that’s addressed” properly, said Cheryl Jaime, Red Deer Against Racism founder and rally organizer.
“A lot of people have heard of (the issue) and don’t know much about it or they’ve just never heard of it. Being an Indigenous woman, this is something that I’ve had to grow up with,” she said.
“I’ve lost family members to (missing and murdered Indigenous women) cases, so it hits really close to home.”
Jaime said Indigenous women only make up three to four per cent of Canada’s population, but are disappearing or getting murdered at a rate of 22 per cent.
“I feel like that’s something that gets people listening instantly. The numbers are very disproportionate. I feel like people listen more when they see the statistics,” she said.
Many rally attendees wore red and carried signs to show support.
Red dresses symbolize the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and pays respect to the grieving families who are searching and longing for their loved ones to return home some day.
The rally was part of the MMIWG2ST movement – rallies were being hosted across Canada Saturday.
Jaime said it’s “wonderful” to see events were being held across the country.
“It’s encouraging. It makes me feel a bit more safe in my community,” she said.
“Even for my cousins and my family, they’re very encouraged to see such an ongoing issue getting addressed in some form. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
Recommendations made by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) nearly two years ago have yet to be implemented by the federal government.
The federal government had originally promised to deliver a national action plan to make life safer for Indigenous women and girls in June last year. But that commitment has been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.