Today is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I ask you to join me in remembering the Indigenous women, girls and transsexual and two-spirited individuals who have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada.
Also known as Red Dress Day, today is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge the systematic racism and violence against Indigenous women and girls all across Canada, and which many of our students, staff and faculty deal with on a regular basis.
Coast Mountain College serves a wide area reaching from Haida Gwaii to Houston. Our region encompasses 34 communities – 21 of which are Indigenous communities. Nearly 50 per cent of our student population is Indigenous. Their lived experience includes subtle and overt acts of racism on a regular basis. Highway 16, which runs through much of our region, is called the Highway of Tears because of the many instances of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the region we serve. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action outlined many of the uncomfortable truths about racism in our country, systems and institutions, and we are only starting to come to grips with them.
Here at Coast Mountain College we acknowledge the pain and barriers many of our Indigenous students and colleagues face in our society. We are committed to decreasing the number of murdered or missing Indigenous women and girls through education and advocacy. I invite you to wear red today to honour and raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. I also encourage you to participate in socially distanced and virtual events across our region.
President and CEO Coast Mountain College