Red Dress Day 2023
The movement is growing.
In 2018, there was a small gathering of supporters led by April Eve Wiberg, a grassroots activist with Stolen Sisters and Brothers and Judith Gale from Bear Clan Beaver Hills House. They gathered in Amiskwaskahegan—Beaver Hills House Park, hung red dresses in the trees, and planted posters around the park. Waving at pedestrians and drivers, they called out to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, men, boys, and Two-Spirit people.
In 2019, Red Dress Day expanded to a walk, starting at Canada Place and moving down Jasper Avenue to Amiskwaskahegan Park. The pandemic in 2020 prevented people from gathering, but, in 2021, over 400 people wearing masks marched from Churchill Square to Amiskwaskahegan Park.
In 2023, the Red Dress Day march increased to over 1000 people, many wearing red. Chants rang out, including: “Stop the Violence, Stop the Hate” and “No More Stolen Sisters and Brothers.” Traffic stopped, cars honked, drums sounded. Although I was unable to be there in 2022, I have been told that numbers were similar.
Red Dress Day events are organized in cities across Canada. This year, Winnipeg MP Leah Gazan led the call for a “Red Dress Alert” system like the Amber Alert when children are missing. The motion, which was adopted with unanimous consent, also called on the Federal Government to declare the ongoing violence a national emergency.
Kate Quinn lives in McCauley.