Friday, July 26, 2013

Walking for the missing and the murdered:

Written by Brenden Harris on Friday, 26 July 2013

Seven individuals are leaving Kenora today, as they continue to Tears 4 Justice Walk across the country. The goal of their campaign is to raise awareness for the amount of missing and murdered women and children in Canada. This is the fifth walk of it's kind taking place, with three of the individuals taking part in all five.

They arrived in Kenora Thursday, and held a meeting at the Ne Chee Friendship Centre where they each shared there stories. Alayna McIvor was one of those who shared their reasons for getting involved in the walk.

"I'm here in honour, and walking in honour of my cousin Roberta McIvor who was brutally murdered in my home community two years ago. Next week, July 30 will be the second anniversary of her death," she said.

"I'm not only walking in honour of my cousin, I'm walking in honour of two-spirit transgender people because that's who I identify as. My friends have been murdered in Winnipeg," McIvor added.

"I myself was taken and sold, at 12 years old, across this country," she said.

McIvor added that the men who are caught abducting women often face an easier time in prison, than the women who are at risk or have been abducted. Gladys Radek has taken part in all five walks. She says although their walk is not only about First Nations women, there are too many misconceptions when it comes to the missing and murdered women in the country.

"When we hear about a First Nations woman that goes missing we hear they're nothing but a drug addict, or a prostitute, or a drunk, or just another dead Indian. It's not right, we're human beings, all of us," she said.

She says it's their goal to give voices to those who can not be heard.

"We want to make a difference. We want to bring those families voices forward. We want justice. There's some of those cases that are 40 and 50 years old, and we're saying enough is enough," she said.

McIvor, Radek, Mabel Todd, Aleck Clifton, Becky Big Canoe, William Dick and Allision Manitowabi will continue walking for the next two months, towards their destination of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

The walkers had received much support from those in Kenora, as the issue hits close to home. Unsolved murders of women have been reported for years across the district, including three in Kenora since 2000.

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