October 4th is an annual day to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, support grieving families, and work for healing and change. While many events are being held virtually this year, Sisters in Spirit vigils, events, and red dress campaigns remain powerful grassroots expressions of grief, solidarity, strength and capacity for healing, and hope for change.
In support of this day, BCAFN Women’s Representative Louisa Housty-Jones shared, “I’m incredibly passionate about healing for the families and our women, girls, and gender diverse people who have experienced violence. Creating safe spaces and access to wellness and cultural supports is how we can help people walk their path of healing find their way back to themselves. Gaining strength and direction from my culture and language has been a central part of my own experience. I am so thankful for all of the community leaders who provide these spaces and continuously remind the rest of society that we cannot rest until this national tragedy is ended and Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people fully experience their human rights to safety and security, health and wellness, justice, and culture.”
The BCAFN continues to advocate for a National Action Plan on MMIWG2S that is led by survivors, families, and Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people, respects and upholds the role of Indigenous governing bodies, takes immediate action on the Calls for Justice, supports community-based action planning, resourcing, and healing; provides for accountability, transparency, and adequate, sustainable resourcing; and takes into account the many voices of survivors, families, and advocates reflected in over 3000 recommendations on the issue of MMIWG2S in BC to date.
To support the development of the National Action Plan the AFN Women’s Council will be holding regional virtual engagement sessions throughout the fall of 2020. Planning is underway in the BC region to ensure the approach to engagement is collaborative, strengths-based, trauma-informed, action and implementation focused, and respectful of the fact that people have already shared so much, and we already have many recommendations about how to move forward.