A Gathering at Trent University on International Women's Day for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for the Status of Women and MP for Peterborough-Kawartha, was a keynote speaker at this special event held 8 March in the Gathering Place, Gzowski College, Trent University.
She spoke about how the "millennial generation" has all the power to right the wrongs of oppression and injustice in order to make Canada a better place for all its people, those of its First Peoples and those who later settled on the land.
Dawn Lavell-Harvard, PhD, Director of The First Peoples House of Learning, also addressed those in attendance.
To begin the evening, after traditional smudging with drumming and singing by 'Unity Singers', The Rev'd Glenn Empey, St Luke's parish priest and current Director, Spiritual Affairs at Trent, led a meditation to help those in attendance focus on the reason for this gathering.
- Let us take a moment for quiet and reflection about our reason for gathering today.
- Let us from the depth of our hearts reach out to our sisters. Sisters who have suffered violence, sisters who have been neglected by the authorities, neglected by institutions, neglected by governments. Sisters who were not counted until their numbers rose and were finally noticed as those missing and those murdered, left along highways in our country and pathways in our cities.
- Let us link together in our hearts and minds and reach out to our sisters, sisters nearby in our own communities, sisters from other territories and regions, and to sisters around the world. Let us take these conscious moments to remember especially those whose death came through murder.
- Let us, in solidarity with them and with those who suffer this day inequity of any kind, raise the causes of injustice, oppression, prejudice and abuse so that people everywhere take note and act to bring about healing, justice, and equity especially for women who are mistreated just because they are women, especially when they are Indigenous women.
- May our presence here tonight be more than a symbol. Let it be a visible witness that is alive and that shines light into the darkness suffered by our sisters near to us now and also those connected to us in our thoughts and through our compassion.
- May our living witness be visible to those authorities whose moral duty it is to take action. May our presence be a clear sign that we will not forget and we will not give up in pressing for action on equal rights for our sisters in the human family.
- May we through our presence this night find ways to take action each in our own way to reach out, to help and to make a positive difference in the lives of our sisters in need.
- Let this light that shines deeply in our hearts be a sign of hope and sign of encouragement for us but especially for them.
- And may these moments of our vigil now be steps forward from a foundation of hope into our taking action and pressing for action for them that their lives will become transformed and each of our sisters can live in peace, free from any kind of fear.
- Blessing be on them especially this day.
- And blessing be upon each of you for holding them in your heart.