Convoy for Action
On June 3rd, over 130 cars convoyed from Borden Park through McCauley to the Alberta Legislature, honking to passers-by, clapping, or waving in solidarity.
The Convoy for Action was organized by April Eve Wiberg, the volunteer leader of the Stolen Sisters and Brothers Awareness movement, and Stephanie Harpe, representative for #MMEIP: Missing, Murdered, and Exploited Indigenous Persons.
They wanted to call attention to the fact that there has been no national action on the 231 Calls for Justice released on June 3rd, 2019 by the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. This national action plan requires participation at the federal, territorial, provincial, municipal, and Indigenous government levels. The Inquiry Report States: “As part of the National Action Plan, we call upon all governments to ensure that equitable access to basic rights such as employment, housing, education, safety, and health care is recognized as a fundamental means of protecting Indigenous and human rights, resourced and supported as rights-based programs founded on substantive equality.”
The tragedies continue. Sadly, on the night before the declaration of Edmonton’s Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week, a woman of Indigenous heritage was found murdered in a hotel on Gateway Boulevard on May 24th. Her sister spoke out at the gathering before the convoy began driving. She said her sister struggled with mental health and trauma. She had been hospitalized for a month in February and lost her housing. Her family didn’t know where she was. Staying in that cheap hotel and doing what she needed to do to cope with her pain cost her life. Police continue to look for the man who killed her.
CEASE has faithfully kept the light of remembrance burning for 21 years by hosting the Annual August 14th Memorial for all those whose lives have been stolen through sexual exploitation. We will add her name to the long list of women, men, transgender, non-binary, and Two-Spirit people who have died, whether through murder, suicide, addictions, or illness.
This year, due to COVID-19 and the weather, the Memorial will be video recorded and posted on Facebook.
One action each person can take is to read the Recommendations tabled by the Inquiry.
Kate is the Executive Director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).