A message from Lynn Wells on Red Dress Day

On Thursday, May 5, we honour, remember and mourn missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual plus) people.

On this incredibly difficult day, I encourage the entire Brock community to reflect on the injustices inflicted on Indigenous communities throughout Canada’s colonial history, and how colonialism continues to cause hurt, pain, and suffering to this day.

The day is also known as Red Dress Day, as empty red dresses — symbolizing the loss of thousands of Indigenous lives — will be hung in public spaces to raise awareness of the disproportionate rates of violence against Indigenous women and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.

Since 2018, Brock has marked REDress Day in February with an installation of red dresses around campus. This year, we hosted a panel discussion with Jennifer Moore Rattray, who served as Executive Director of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

This inquiry resulted in 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians and, much like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, should be required reading for all Canadians.

I encourage members of the Brock community to also show their support by wearing red clothing and joining Robyn Bourgeois, Brock’s Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement, and other Indigenous leaders in a Red Dress Day event at St. Catharines City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Many resources – including links to further readings, podcasts and Indigenous artists – can be found on Brock’s dedicated REDress Day website.

I hope you’ll join me in taking time today to remember, reflect and learn, as we walk the path toward meaningful reconciliation.

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