A walk took place in Portage la Prairie yesterday (Thursday) afternoon to spread and maintain awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has expanded this year to include missing and murdered people of any background, including LGBTQ, 2-spirited and all others.
Those who too part include the Mayor, city council members, RCMP Inspector Paul Peddle, and more.
It took place beginning at City Hall when Mayor Sharilyn Knox announced the effort, and spoke inside City Hall to those gathered to take part in the vigil.
Diane Thiessen is Chair of the SEY (Sexually Exploited Youth) Awareness Team
"We gathered for Sisters in Spirit Vigil and Walk of Hope," says Thiessen. "Although on a different date, on October 4th originally, the message is the same; to honour the more than 600 Aboriginal women and youth who have been murdered or gone missing. In doing so, we remember the lives of sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers tragically taken from us. It is vital to ensure that everyone, regardless of his or her cultural background, is aware of this crisis of violence."
She notes these women and girls are loved and missed terribly by their families. Thiessen says you can help them get the word out.
"We are building a regional team in the for Portage la Prairie and surrounding area," continues Thiessen. "So, if there is anyone who is interested in being part of the awareness initiatives, you can contact myself or anyone on the regional team to be part of events like this, and to be part of the public voice for the people who can't speak for themselves right now."
Thiessen says they had to reschedule the date from October 4 due to the need for adjustments to the event.
"The message is to say we're still here, giving that voice for people who don't have a voice. We started from City Hall and had a brief speech from our mayor, Sharilyn Knox, and just came down the Saskatchewan Ave., headed down and crossed over to the Prairie Fusion Arts and Entertainment."
Click photos below to enlarge: