“Every woman who has gone missing is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s aunt or someone’s sister. We must never lose sight of the fact that they were loved and deserve to be valued.”
– Sandra Gagnon, whose sister Janet Henry went missing in Vancouver in 1997.
I don’t know how to write about this. Every time I think about it, the feelings are so overwhelming that I get stuck, knowing I’ll never be able to do justice to the enormity of this terrifying issue.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, it’s what we call Stolen Sisters. It’s the fact that hundreds upon hundreds First Nations, Metis and Inuk women have gone missing and the numbers are climbing. Every day I see a new plea from a desperate family to help locate a sister or daughter who has disappeared.
It’s an epidemic of violence and an indication of the silent (and sometimes not so silent) racism that still resides as an undercurrent in our society.
If you see the pictures of these beautiful girls, these lost women, your heart breaks. Especially when the cases get stacked up and up and up and it doesn’t stop.
I created this facebook avatar in a simple homage to all these lost women. I want them to have some kind of identity, even if we will never see their faces again. I want everyone to know we are these women. For every one that is stolen, a part of us is taken as well. I want to speak out in the ways I know how.
Use this image as your avatar. If people ask what it is, tell them!
This avatar is no victim. This avatar is strong. It’s about women who are taught to stand up for themselves, to respect themselves and to demand respect from others. It’s about mothers who teach their sons to honour the women they meet, and teach their daughters they are beautiful, worthy and smart.
This avatar is for the missing, and it’s a testament to the living.
Those who would do violence, thinking there are no consequences, you are on notice.
Because we notice.
And we won’t take it anymore. We will stand up and speak. Our daughters will surprise you. They will defend themselves, they will respect themselves.
To the government and law enforcement: we are watching you as well. What legacy will you leave your own daughters for your conduct and choices today?
To all my relations: you are worth so much more than you give yourself. Open your hearts and use your voice. Make a difference. Do it right now. Make a difference and never stop. We can build communities of love and support, each of us, ourselves and then together.
I have cried many tears for our Stolen Sisters. Now I am done crying. I am ready to speak in what ways I can. I invite you to help as well.
Here are some links: