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Parliamentary secretary’s statement on Red Dress Day

May 5, 2024 at 8:06 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, has released the following statement in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and Two-Spirit People.

“On Red Dress Day, we honour the lives of the many Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people who have been murdered or are missing.

“The red dress has become a symbol of loss for those who have been taken too soon, and a call to end violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

“Métis artist Jaime Black inspired the symbol of the red dress with the REDress project, which is a visual reminder of just how many women are gone.

“It is imperative that we continue to uplift and listen to the voices of Indigenous people and support self-determination of Indigenous communities in taking steps towards healing and justice. We also must address the root causes of violence, including colonialism, racism and misogyny.

“From 2009 to 2021, 490 Indigenous women and girls were victims of homicide in Canada. In this timeframe, the rate of homicide of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and girls was six times higher than the rate among their non-Indigenous counterparts. In Canada, Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other women in Canada.

“Following the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan in 2021, our government released A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies for B.C. that reflects community-based priorities and sets a solid foundation with early strategies to ending violence.

“As part of this work, the Path Forward Community Fund, developed and administered by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, has been established to support Indigenous-led safety planning and capacity building.

“Recently, we released Safe and Supported: B.C.’s Gender Based Violence Action Plan with measures that complement and further advance our commitments laid out in A Path Forward. Our work is being guided in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous partners, and with advice from community service providers and advocates, an advisory committee and the many experts and leaders who have provided feedback to help shape B.C.’s Gender-Based Violence Action Plan.

“To all of these people, I extend my gratitude for your voices and for sharing your experiences, expertise and compassion.

“And to the women, girls, 2SLGBTQIA+ people and families who have been harmed, have faced loss and grief, please know you are not alone. I am with you along with so many others and commit to being a voice in government that will continue to advocate for an end to gender-based violence and harm against Indigenous people.

“Ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people requires collective action, accountability and solidarity. Let us honour the memory of those who have been lost by continuing to take action to create a world where all Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people can live free from fear and harm.”

Learn More:

To read about resources and support for those concerned about violence or self-harm, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/ResourcesandSupport.pdf

To read the report entitled A Path Forward, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/about-bc-justice-system/inquiries/mmiw/mmiwg-status-update-2023.pdf

To learn more about Safe and Supported, B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/services-policies-for-government/gender-equity/safe-and-supported-gender-based-violence-action-plan-december-2023.pdf

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