Red Dress Day on May 5 honours the memory and lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S) across Canada and the US. Started in 2010 by Métis artist Jaime Black, the day has grown into a movement to educate and create awareness and calls to action for systemic change.
The City will be recognizing this important movement and amplifying community initiatives throughout the month of May through displays and learning opportunities.
- Indigenous women and girls are five times more likely to experience violence than any other population in Canada and this violence tends to result in more serious harm.
- Indigenous women make up 16% of all female homicide victims, and 11% of missing women, even though Indigenous people only make up 4.3% of the population of Canada.
- From 2001 to 2014 the average rate of homicides involving Indigenous female victims was four times higher than that of homicides involving non-Indigenous female victims.
- Violence against Indigenous women and girls is systemic and a national crisis that requires urgent, informed and collaborative action.
- Current public data on MMIWG2S oversimplifies and underrepresents the scale of the issue, yet still demonstrates a complex and pervasive pattern of violence against Indigenous women and girls who are often targeted because of their gender and Indigenous identity.
(Source: The Assembly of First Nations)
message from New westminster police department
Red Dress Day is a day where we remember and honour the lives of Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit individuals who have tragically been taken away from us. We continue to work in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, elders, stakeholders and communities to build relationships and take proactive approaches to preventing crimes against Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit individuals. In addressing MMIWG we look to education, mentorship, cultural practices, and community-based programs as our best tools to keep Indigenous people safe. We have also worked internally to improve how the New Westminster Police Department conducts our investigations into missing Indigenous women and girls. In doing this we have changed many of our investigative procedures and policies to address gaps and solve MMIWG cases. The New Westminster Police Department extends our sincerest gratitude to individuals, communities, and organizations who continue to offer support and guidance to us.
Red Dress Day Event
Spirit of the Children Society and City of New Westminster invite the community to join us at Hyack Square on May 5, 3:00 pm, to remember and honour the murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. Event details here.
Throughout the month of May, red dress displays will be setup throughout the community. We encourage the public to visit these displays and take a moment to reflect and honour the lives lost. These displays can be found:
- Parks and public spaces throughout the city will host red dress displays. An effort is being made to get displays into each neighbourhood.
- New Westminster Youth Services will hang red dresses in the trees outside the Youth Centre (620 Eighth Street), and during Youth Week (May 1-7) the windows will be painted red. Time will be set aside during the volleyball event on May 5 to recognize the meaning and significance of Red Dress Day.
- City Hall will be lit up red on May 4 - 5 in honour of Red Dress Day.
- The Justice Institute of British Columbia is putting up a red dress display at the New Westminster campus (715 Mcbride Blvd.) and along McBride Boulevard May 1 - 5. More information can be found on their website at Justice for MMIWG.
- Create your own display. Show your support by putting up your own display for the month of May at your residence or business. Consider painting your windows red, designing a red-themed window, putting up a red dress cut out, or hanging a red dress in your window or tree.
learn about MMIWG2S
The following links provide resources that you can use to learn more:
- Spirit of the Children Society Red Dress Day Teachings
- Recommended Reading List from the New Westminster Public Library
- Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Wear red: Wear red on May 5 and/or wear a Red Dress Pin throughout the month of May. Share a photo on social media with the hashtags: #MMIW, #MMIWG2S, #RedDressDay, #WhyWeWearRed, #NoMoreStolenSisters
Take action beyond Red Dress Day: The article link below shares 7 calls to action for Indigenous allies. Non-Indigenous peoples have a role to play in the fight for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country.
- Beyond Red Dress Day 7 Calls to Action for Indigenous Allies
- Indigenous Ally Tool Kit: Tips on How to be an Indigenous Ally
This campaign has been made possible thanks to the support of the following sponsors.
Presenting Sponsor: Spirit of the Children Society
This logo was created by Tammy Hausch, a Metis Cree Early Childhood Development teacher at Spirit of the Children Society.