'I will find you': A message in Timmins to honour and remember missing Indigenous women
TIMMINS -- The Timmins Native Friendship Centre wants to see its fence blanketed in messages of hope for missing and murdered Indigenous sisters.
According to Canadian research, 10 per cent of missing women in the country are Indigenous. All this week in Timmins, the Friendship Centre is doing what it can during a pandemic to draw attention to the crisis.
It's starting the week off by hanging a banner on its fence that display a variety of messages such as:
'I will find you'
'You are not alone'
'No more stolen sisters'
"Basically this is to encourage the community to stand together, as we are always stronger together," said Jaylin Renauld, the Aboriginal healing and wellness coordinator for the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.
"And this is just a small way that we can show the community that we are not tolerating violence in our community and we want to be a part of that healing and do anything that we can to help encourage that."
A report released this week by the Ontario Native Women's Association indicates Indigenous Women need easier access to services. Renauld said women can find that at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.
"We want to make sure that the community knows that the Friendship Centre is a safe place for people to come and talk about their experiences, to talk about the trauma that they've experienced," she said. "We recognize that it's just not a communal issue, it's a national issue and this is just a small part that that we can play to stop and bring awareness to the violence in our communities."
Renauld said by sharing messages out loud with the public, solidarity will be encouraged. Timmins Police officials agree.
Brenda Beaven is Indigenous liaison coordinator for the Timmins Police Service. Beaven hopes the red dress she has painted on the station's window will be a strong indicator of support.
"We have had girls that have gone missing in our community and they are open investigations," she said. "In the meantime ... we do honour, we do remember that these girls are human beings. They are women and girls from our community and we need to honour and remember them."
An itinerary of this week's events can be found on the Timmins Native Friendship Centre's Facebook page.