Updated: Jan 19, 2021
When I was asked to perform at W.I.L.D. in November of 2019 I already knew what my performance would be about, especially when I was told it was an untamed gala created to raise money and awareness for women who are dealing with violence.
I have never been a victim of physical domestic abuse, but I spent twelve years living in Prince George near the Highway of Tears. The Highway of Tears (https://www.highwayoftears.org/) earned its name from the 1000's of #MMIWG who have disappeared along that stretch of Northern road.
I also attended the 29th Annual Women's Memorial March in Vancouver this year, and countless events like it in Prince George to commemorate #MMIWG. While all of these events have been extremely moving experiences, they shouldn't be necessary. Every woman who experiences violence deserves justice and given that it is 2020 we need to work harder to ensure that all women feel and are safe in their communities to begin with.
While I don't live in Prince George anymore, I still see what is going on in the North through social media and on the news. I was appalled when I watched the RCMP arresting Indigenous women on the Wet'suwet'en Yintah again this year. No female officers were present, even though they were requested, and one woman had the window of her vehicle smashed out before she was dragged from the truck so a male officer could sit on her back and handcuff her. I watched all of this, but for twelve years plus I have barely seen the RCMP lift a finger to look for those #MMIWG.
In August of 2018, before I left Prince George I was the victim of an attempted kidnapping when I tried to take a quiet early morning walk, as I had done for many years before. Living so close to that Highway I was not at all surprised when the officer who arrived to assist me told me to 'go home and sleep it off' and didn't offer me a file number. I was even less surprised when the RCMP tried to dismiss my complaints about the officers' conduct, as they are still trying to do now.
Even though it is 2020 and we watch advertisements that pontificate about female empowerment, women like me who try to speak out against violence are still told to be quiet. Since racism is so inherently a part of the patriarchal system that governs our planet, it is exponentially worse for women of color.
That is why I knew that I would have to be wildly brave when I stepped onto that stage; why I knew I had to wear that black handprint across my mouth and speak loudly for all the women who are silenced in one way or another when they try to speak out.
Thank you to Arrow Dance Studio (http://www.arrowdancestudio.com/) and the Ignite Kootenay Women's Conference (https://www.ignitewomensconference.com/) for creating this opportunity for me and so many amazing performers to express themselves and talk about this important issue. Thank you also to videographer Michelle Jacuibek (https://www.facebook.com/michellejaciubek) for filming that evening and allowing me to share this message with a wider audience. Thank you also to everyone who came out that night to perform or be a part of the W.I.L.D. audience. Finally a huge thank you to my friend and musician Steve Marc (https://stevemarc.bandcamp.com/) (who has just dropped a new album btw) for helping me make this video possible.
It was definitely a fabulously untamed evening. Here is my W.I.L.D. performance. Enjoy and consider sharing the YouTube video with your friends to raise more awareness