WGSI Community Knowledge Alliance Event – No More Silence – May 24 @ 5:30

Please join the WGSI Community Knowledge Alliance event No More Silence, Families of Sisters in Spirit, the Native Youth Sexual Health Networks & Sarah Hunt, Tanya Kappo, Monica Forrester and Maryanne Pearce on Community-Based Responses to Violence. The event will take place on May 24 at 5:30 pm at The Native Canadian Center of Toronto, 16 Spadina Road (North of Bloor)

Violence No More:
Ending the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in Canada

Saturday, May 24, will mark the fourth in a series of public gatherings and closed workshops to address the disturbing levels of violence directed against Indigenous women across Turtle Island. (An unexpected RCMP report of May 2014 puts the number of murdered or missing Indigenous women from the past 30 years at 1,186).

Since 2011, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, activists and community members have come together to strategize as a community around ways to end violence against Indigenous women that centre decolonization and are critical of law and order approaches; to encourage the involvement of the university community in ending the violence; and to educate the broader public. Some of you may have attended last year’s Violence No More event with Cherokee scholar-activist Andrea Smith.

Organizers of this year’s event—No More Silence (NMS) and Sistering—have invited the public to the Native Canadian Centre for 5:30 pm. The public event will centre the voices of community members; survivors of violence and their family/friends/supporters; organizers; activists; and anyone working towards ending gender-based colonial violence in various capacities. Featured presenters will include Indigenous advocates Sarah Hunt, Maryanne Pearce, Monica Forrester and Tanya Kappo (see below for more on the presenters).

NMS, along with community partners Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN), will provide updates on progress to date on a database initiative begun last year to document violent deaths of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirited people. Those present will also be invited to participate in discussions about calls for a public inquiry into the issue, the development of a community safety plan and the support of sex workers. Earlier in the day, representatives from groups across Canada will meet in a closed workshop to continue strategizing on the community database project.

Organizers would like to thank the sponsors who have made this event possible: the Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto (Community Knowledge Alliance Fund); the Initiative Fund (NCIF) and Principal’s Initiative Fund (PFI), New College, University of Toronto; and the Groundswell Fund.

More about this year’s presenters:

Victoria, BC-based scholar-activist Sarah Hunt researches how community-based solutions centred on Indigenous law can redefine “justice” in the context of relentless colonial violence enacted upon the bodies of Indigenous girls and women. Maryanne Pearce is an Ottawa-based scholar who recently completed her dissertation, An Awkward Silence: Missing and Murdered Vulnerable Women and the Canadian Justice System. Monica Forrester brings over 25 years of experience in the sex work community to her activism on raising awareness of sex workers rights. Tanya Kappo is an artist-activist who has collaborated with the initiative Walking With Our Sisters—a collective community response that honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Here are some links to videos from previous events in the series: