A letter written by our founder in response to the Annual Strawberry Ceremony to honour our Murdered and Missing Indigenous sisters held on V-Day-Feb 14th.
Someone asked me why I'm marching for the murdered and missing Indigenous women of Canada on February 14th. I found it a strange question to answer.
WHY I RISE:
Imagine your sister, your daughter, your friend who you love.
Now imagine her missing or murdered. Hard to imagine for many, but try. Now imagine again that very few are interested in finding her or bringing justice to her life. Blind eyes are turned. Bodies in charge make excuses. Fellow citizens are indifferent. Now imagine your pain.
And then imagine those same people cheering for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics, holding up huge flags of red and white maple glory, beaming with pride at the strength and success of our amazing athletes. Is this the only thing that makes us proud to be Canadian? Gold, Silver and Bronze? What could be more Canadian than supporting and standing together for our fellow sisters and brothers who need us? Doesn't that make us proud, too?
Canadians are applauded for their tolerance, their good manners, their peaceful tendencies. They are praised for their sportsmanship after helping fellow skiers rise up from tumbles in the Olympics. Yet, we find it hard to come together and RISE for our own missing and murdered women. We struggle with the choice to REMEMBER our sisters.
Canada's Indigenous women are part of the spirit and history of this land we call STRONG and FREE.
I march for these women, for all women and for ALL Canadians. I march for an end to all violence against women, Indigenous or not. I rise for my own two sisters and the sisters of others. I rise to heal myself. I rise for every little girl, for every grown woman. But most importantly, I rise because I am a woman. And I am Canadian.
Marissa Kokkoros, Feb 11, 2014.