May 5th marks the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2Spirit+. Also known as Red Dress Day, it’s intended to honor the hundreds of women who never returned to their communities. The red dress is a symbol of the violence Indigenous women face every day.
Wednesday’s event in Vancouver (City Hall) is being hosted by the Pacific Association of First Nations Women in partnership with the City of Vancouver.
“We encourage all levels of government to speak out about this tragedy occurring in our City of Reconciliation,” said the PAFNW in a release.
There will be speeches, traditional dancers and drummers. Organizers say there will also be a red dress installation and the Burrard Street Bridge will be illuminated in red.
According to the RCMP, there are nearly 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girls in Canada, though it’s believed the number is likely much higher. “Over 4,000 Indigenous women have been reported missing and we urge all levels of government to take action now,” wrote the PAFNW.
Indigenous leaders are calling for all levels of government to speak out about the ongoing tragedy and implement the more than 200 calls for justice from the national inquiry, which was completed nearly three years ago.