By Alexis Perikleous
Women, men and children of all different ethnicities gathered Tuesday to take part in the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil, one of many occurring across Canada.
The event takes place every year on Oct. 4 to pay tribute to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls of Canada.
The event took place at Allan Gardens, across the street from the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto. The grounds were decorated with hand-crafted paper lanterns and painted rocks, representing over 1,000 murdered and missing girls and women.
Among the crowd were Ryerson students from the Centre for Women and Trans People. Jessica Ketwaroo-Green, a fourth year politics and governance students carried a hand-made banner along with some of her classmates in support of the vigil.
“This is an issue that is really prevalent in Canada and unfortunately not a lot of people speak about it or speak to it. So if I can come out and show my support and show my solidarity I think it can go a long way,” said Ketwaroo-Green.
The vigil featured performances of dancing, drumming and singing. There were also guest speakers from the indigenous community. One of the speakers was Cyndy Baskin an associate professor of social work at Ryerson and chair of Ryerson’s Aboriginal Education Council.
“It’s the stories, it’s the truths of all these families that need to be told in many different ways before any of us will be able to reconcile,” said Baskin.
The vigil had a large impact on Calvin Brook, co-founder of Brook Mcllroy architecture firm, who has been working closely with the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto. It was the first Sisters in Spirit Vigil he’s attended, but certainly won’t be his last
“To me it’s the most important unresolved issue in Canadian society and non-indigenous people have to fix it, it’s not up to Indigenous people to fix it. So I’m trying to find ways to be part of that solution,” said Brook.