Honour Stolen Sisters on October 4th
Years of campaigning led by Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people resulted in government finally calling an inquiry to investigate the scope and scale of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons, and to identify solutions to end the violence. In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued its final report, including 231 Calls for Justice. The federal government committed to creating a National Action Plan by June 2020 to transform the Calls for Justice into concrete actions, but has delayed creation of the plan, and a timeline and process to create it remains unknown.
Normally on October 4th, hundreds of Sisters in Spirit vigils are held in communities across Canada to honour Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have gone missing or been murdered, and every year many Amnesty members participate in these vigils.
This year, October 4th will be a bit different because of the pandemic. Some communities may hold outdoor, socially distanced vigils. Vigils may not be organized in other communities. And there may even be online virtual vigils. Whether or not a vigil is held in your community this year, please take time on October 4th to take action to end violence against First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit people.
PARTICIPATE IN A VIGIL
- Vigils are organized at the community level. The Native Women's Association of Canada has a vigil registration form and will publish an online list of vigils registered with them. Please contact the organizers of previous vigils in your community to see if they plan to organize an in person or virtual vigil or other activity this year. Indigenous women's organizations, grassroots advocates, communities, friendship centres, and Indigenous community and service organizations often organize vigils.
- The Native Women's Association of Canada is organizing a virtual vigil on Sunday, October 4 from 2-3:30pm EST. The vigil will be live streamed on Facebook.
- Amnesty participates in vigils to demonstrate our solidarity and to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. Vigils are a solemn occasion and events are centred on the voices of rights holders. Amnesty refrains from bringing petitions (unless, as has happened a few times in the past, they are co-created with Indigenous partners), large Amnesty backdrops, or having too visible of a presence. Wearing an Amnesty t-shirt or holding a small banner in the audience is completely ok and is a great way to express solidarity. Amnesty generally does not speak at vigils unless it is upon invitation from Indigenous partners, solidarity-focused, very brief, and after rights holders have spoken.
ORGANIZE A VIGIL
- If nothing is planned for your community, consider co-organizing a virtual vigil with Indigenous partners.
- This resource kit was created to support the organizing of in-person vigils, but some of the guidance is still relevant for online activities.
READ, WRITE A LETTER, AND OTHER WAYS TO TAKE ACTION!
- Write a letter to Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, calling on her to create a National Action Plan to end violence aginst First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit persons now!
- Read the National Inquiry's Calls for Justice directed to all people in Canada.
- Check out Amnesty's social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter) on October 4th. We always have a post about honouring the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people who have gone missing or been murdered. Share these posts on your social media feeds.