St. John’s, NL – One year ago, the organizers of the annual In Her Name vigil issued a call for the creation of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The crowd that had gathered that evening listened as one by one, 117 names of our province’s missing and murdered women and girls were read aloud from the steps of the Colonial Building. We resolved to make change on their behalf, to end violence against women and girls.
That change has not been forthcoming. To date, there has been no movement on the establishment of a provincial task force. Through historical research and tips from the public and family members of those who have been lost to violence, this year’s list has now grown to include the names of 136 women and girls. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. Change is needed, and it’s needed now.
On Thursday, October 4, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre will join together in remembrance and will rally once more for action. The In Her Name vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Colonial Building at 90 Military Road in St. John’s. Jenelle Duval of Eastern Owl and Colleen Power will perform. The event will go ahead rain or shine and all are welcome.
Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:
“A provincial task force on gender-based violence is past due. It is time to establish a well-resourced and fully funded task force to create a comprehensive plan to end violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Amelia Reimer, Cultural Support Coordinator of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre:
“In light of the ongoing National Inquiry into Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is extremely important to continue to shine a light on the violence Indigenous women face in this country. Indigenous women continue to experience violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women. At the In Her Name vigil, we will come together as a province to remember all women and girls that have lost their lives to this violence, and we honour and respect that we are all ‘Sisters in Spirit,’ both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”
The St. John’s Status of Women Council received support from Department of Justice Canada’s Victims and Survivors of Crime Week fund to establish the In Her Name Healing Garden at the St. John’s Women’s Centre this past summer. Families and loved ones will now have a place to gather and remember not just at the vigil, but throughout the year.
Individuals or groups who wish to volunteer or to read a name at the In Her Name vigil are invited to contact Amelia Reimer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
Cultural Support Coordinator
St. John’s Native Friendship Centre