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Editorial: Red Dress Day an opportunity for reflection

Walk and ceremony to be held today in qathet region
A Red Dress Day gathering was held at Willingdon Beach [above] on May 5, 2023. A ceremony will be held at the same location today, one year later, following a walk from Tis'kwat.

Red Dress Day is more than a date on the calendar; it's a stark reminder of a systemic crisis that demands urgent attention. Observed annually, it serves as a platform to shed light on the staggering rates of violence faced by Indigenous communities, particularly women, girls and Two-Spirit individuals.

Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by violence, with homicide rates significantly higher than those of any other demographic group in Canada. This is compounded by the number of cases that remain unsolved or uninvestigated, perpetuating a cycle of injustice and trauma within Indigenous communities.

The national day for awareness provides an opportunity for reflection, action and solidarity. It's a time to honour the lives of those who have been lost, amplify the voices of survivors, and demand accountability from governments, law enforcement agencies and society as a whole.

Historical and ongoing injustices that have allowed this crisis to persist, including colonization, systemic racism and the erasure of Indigenous voices and rights, must be confronted. This includes empowering Indigenous communities to lead the way in developing solutions, investing in resources for prevention and intervention, and implementing policies that prioritize the safety and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Changes are necessary in order to create a present and future where every Indigenous woman, girl and Two-Spirit person can live free from fear and violence.

Ceremonies will be held across the country this Sunday, including the qathet region, where a walk from Townsite to Willingdon Beach and subsequent candlelight gathering will pay homage to affected individuals and families. Will you be there?

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