Am I next?
By Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women’s Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada
The images are haunting. The message shocking. “Am I next?”
Holly Jarrett, cousin of Loretta Saunders, an Inuk woman murdered in Halifax, NS in February, launched the “Am I next?” social media campaign on Saturday, September 6. It plays on the word “ain,” a term of endearment in her native Inuktituk. Given the alarmingly high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, it is meant to draw attention to a question that Indigenous women and girls have to ask themselves—will they be the next to vanish?
Within hours of launching the campaign, Indigenous women from across the country were uploading “selfies” with handmade signs asking the federal government, “Am I next?” In a matter of days, thousands of people had joined the Facebook group where the photos continue to pour in every hour, many of them accompanied with messages to the federal calling for action to stop the violence.
As I view the thousands of photos I can't help but think, "please not you, and not you, and not you." I don't want any of these strong and beautiful sisters, daughters, aunties, mothers, and grandmothers to be next. None of us should be next. We shouldn't even have to worry about being next. But given that Indigenous women and girls are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women in Canada, one of these women or girls may very well be next.
What can you do? View the "Am I next?" photos. Stand in solidarity with your Indigenous sisters by sharing the photos on your social media feeds.
What else can you do?
Join our Stolen Sisters campaign to end violence against Indigenous women in Canada.