Red Dress Day – May 5, 2024

Dear Members of CUPE Local 3338,

I hope this finds you well. Content warning: this message discusses gender and race-based violence. Please consider your capacity to engage with this before you continue reading. Support resources are also included at the bottom of this post.

May 5th, known as Red Dress Day, is the National Day of Awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2 Spirit people (MMIWG2S).  We wanted to take a moment to remind you of the significance of this day and extend an invitation to participate in Red Dress Day learning and engagement.

May 5th marks a day of remembrance and an opportunity for us to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis of violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit Individuals and to show solidarity with Indigenous communities across the country.  Approximately 4,000 Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit individuals were reported missing between 1980 and 2021.  According to the 2019 Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the alarming rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls are categorized as a form of race-based genocide.

First established in 2010, the REDress Project began as an art installation by Indigenous artist Jamie Black. Today, red dresses serve as a powerful symbol of our commitment to justice, reconciliation, and ending gender-based violence against indigenous women, girls, and 2 Spirit people. By participating in Red Dress Day, we can amplify the voices of those who have been silenced and advocate for meaningful change.

We encourage all members of CUPE Local 3338 to join in respectful acknowledgement of Red Dress Day on May 5th.  There are many events and activities happening in our community to mark Red Dress Day.  We encourage you to seek out opportunities to engage with Indigenous-led initiatives and to learn more about how we can all contribute to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit individuals.

How to Support MMIWG2S

  • Wear Red on May 5th to show your support and raise awareness;
  • Attend a MMIWG2S awareness event to learn more;
  • Hang a red dress in your window to support women who are on the frontlines fighting for all of us everyday
  • Read the final report from the National Inquiry on MMIWG2S;
  • Donate to initiatives that support Indigenous women in our community:
  • Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada
  • Aboriginal Mother Centre Society

Some of the Local Red Dress Day Events in Metro Vancouver

  • Online 1:00-2:30pm
  • New Westminster
    • Hyack Square, New Westminster: Presented in partnership with Spirit of the Children Society, and sponsored by Downtown New Westminster BIA, the community is invited to honour the memory and lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people at this free event. There will be a red dress display, a ceremony at 4:00 pm, and family-friendly activities. Free red dress pins and refreshments will be available while supplies last. Attendees are encouraged to wear red to show their support. Learn more about Red Dress Day and find community displays and learning opportunities in New Westminster:
  • Abbotsford
    • Abbotsford City Hall, 10:00-3:30pm: The Fraser Valley Métis Association in collaboration with the City Of Abbotsford wants to bring awareness to the over-representation of Indigenous Women and Girls within our justice system.
Learn More About MMIWG2S
Support Resources

Support by phone

We encourage you to take some time on May 5th to honor the lives lost, support survivors, and work towards a future where everyone can live free from violence and discrimination.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  

Trish Everett, Vice President 2-Equity & Inclusion

On behalf of The Executive Board of CUPE Local 3338