The Red Dress Awareness Campaign will once again serve as a visual reminder for those missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls from the Comox Valley and beyond. Photo submitted.

Red dresses hung for visual reminder of those missing and murdered

For one week, Lee Everson is hoping to see red.

Red dresses, hung from homes, businesses and storefronts throughout the Comox Valley is the goal for Everson, who is co-ordinating the annual Red Dress Awareness Campaign.

The campaign was created by Winnipeg Metis artist Jamie Black, whose The REDress Project focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. According to her website, it is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to the critical national issue, with the goal to collect 600 red dresses by community donation, which will be installed in public spaces throughout Winnipeg and across Canada.

The dresses are “a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us.”

Everson said following the success and community engagement surrounding the Walking With Our Sisters campaign a few years ago, there was a tremendous collective of people who wanted to keep the momentum going to bring awareness to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

“When I heard about the REDress Project that was started in 2010 … and the simple and profound impact it made, I thought why not create an awareness campaign and installation here in our own community and hopefully influence the rest of Vancouver Island?”

Everson noted it was evident, through the WWOS project, how many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have gone missing from the Island, based upon the amount of families who came forward during that time.

“It was evident that this is happening in our own communities.”

From Oct. 1 to 7, the installation will hang at Simms Millennium Park in Courtenay.

“Our community members want to make a difference; they are eager and determined to help make our community an inclusive, safe and beautiful place to live. I believe it is through education that we can and will make a difference,” added Everson.

She encourages anyone to hang a red dress at their home or within the community.

The Comox Valley community is welcome to join the Kumugwe Dance Group Oct. 1 at noon at the park as they honour the lives of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Canada.

Anyone willing to make a donation is encouraged to do so towards their local transition society or women’s shelter.