During Monday evening’s council meeting in Smiths Falls, Acting Mayor Jay Brennan proclaimed Red Dress Day on May 5, 2023.
The Red Dress Project was a public art installation created by Jaime Black in 2010, as a way to commemorate missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), “by hanging empty red dresses in a range of environments,” Brennan described.
This nation-wide art project provides a powerful visual reminder of those who should be walking among us, but are not.
“The colour red signifies a colour that spirits can see,” Brennan explained, the art is “calling back the spirits of those missing to be among us and to have their voices heard.”
May 5 is a national day of awareness that honours missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people. More than one thousand Indigenous women are missing in Canada.
Anyone can participate in Red Dress Day by wearing red, or hanging any red dress in their window or yard. Community members are encouraged to participate and post photos on social media with the hashtag #MMIWG2S+ for others to see.
There will be a ceremony to honour Red Dress Day at Last Duel Park in Perth at 5pm on May 5. This ceremony will include an Indigenous healing circle and memorial.
All are welcome.
Councilor Brennan also proclaimed May Sexual Assault Prevention Month. “The town of Smiths Falls supports the right of all people to live free of sexual violence,” he said, “Sexual violence is a public health issue, which impacts the health of people and society.”
He noted that there is a commemorative banner hanging in the Memorial Community Centre, to proclaim that we believe survivors, and we stand with them.
Lanark County Interval House provides a sexual assault program, including counselling and support groups, for women and children experiencing sexual assault. This service is free and confidential, and their crisis line is 1-800-267-7946.