Local organizations mark Red Dress Day by honouring murdered and missing Indigenous women

Several organizations in London held an event at Peace Park Thursday to mark the National Day of Awareness For Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls (MMIWG), also known as Red Dress Day.

“We also use the colour red as it allows for those to be able to be seen. We use our voices for those to be able to be heard,” said Elyssa Rose, an anti-human trafficking coordinator with Atlohsa family healing services in London.

She hopes Thursday’s event will bring forth a conversation about Indigenous murdered and missing victims.

“I think when we do these things it's really important that allies come out, people from all walks of life come and ask those questions because that is how we make that step towards community,” Rose said.

“I want to learn more,” said Candice Lawrence, who volunteered for the event. “This is an issue that's happening all over Canada.”

Rose told CTV News there are hundreds of people who are represented through the red dresses, however, she said there’s no way of knowing how many victims there are as many go unreported.

“Many of them have not been acknowledged, so today we are acknowledging those women, those girls, and those men,” she said.

Indigenous activist Sierra Jamieson said, “It’s time for people to realize what's going on in our communities.”

“Not a lot of people know that we go missing at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous people.”

While those in the Indigenous community are hoping to continue the conversation after May 5.

“I would like to say I’d hope to see a day where individuals stop becoming a statistic or being murdered or missing,” said Rose.

“I think forever we will see red dresses hung up and being part of our communities because it is our way of honouring those who have been murdered or missing,”