Friday morning saw a flag raising at the Meridian Community Centre (MCC) in Pelham to bring awareness to the advocacy event “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Violence against Women.” The event also marked the opening of the REDress display for the third year in Pelham. Red dresses have been installed in the trees outside the south entrance of MCC, based on inspiration from the 2010 project developed by Metis artist Jamie Black. The use of red dresses in the display is a visual representation of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada.
Pelham Deputy Mayor John Wink told the audience that “gender-based violence transcends borders, cultures, and socio-economic status. It affects all individuals of all ages, races, and backgrounds. It's a violation of basic human rights and an obstacle to gender equality.”
Samantha Forbes, of Birchway Niagara (formerly the shelter and support centre Women’s Place), told those assembled that “on September 21, Niagara Regional government, and municipalities across the region, recognize the seriousness of the problem by declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic, while the province has yet to do so. It is our hope that recognizing the depth of the issue will help to bring additional measures and awareness to the struggle for safety and security that so many individuals in our community face every single day. The recent loss of two lives less than a month apart in the region serves as a sombre testament to the long road that we still have to travel to end femicide and build a safer future for women and girls.”