Fort St. John shows support for families of missing and murdered women

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Those who took part held signs with the names and photos of their sisters, mothers and friends who are missing or have been murdered. There were too many to count.

Once at City Hall, D'Andre Gunning, the nine year old son of Rene Gunning, read out the joint statement that was read at all Sisters in Spirit vigils across the country. The remains of his mother Rene Gunning were found last year after she was considered missing since her disappearance while hitchhiking with a friend in 2005. Sisters in Spirit organizer Connie Greyeyes says D'Andre having the courage to speak if front of so many people is what the event is all about.

"What a strong little boy," she says. "It's really huge for him on his part to be able to say something."

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Other family members of women who are missing or have been murdered had the opportunity to speak when the group returned to the Friendship Centre for a feast. Greyeyes explains that the important thing is that they see that they have the support of the community, and that their loved ones are not forgotten.

"For me and for many people it's hard to know what to do for people when they're in that kind of situation and you really don't know what to do, you don't know what to say," she admits. "If we can do anything else to try and help ease the pain of people, at least so they can tell their story still."

While the community's support of the families was clear last night, Greyeyes hopes to find a way it can be shown year round. She wants to put an action plan in place for a family should a woman go missing. That includes local organizations who are willing to offer services should that ever happen, like printing flyers. Greyeyes also wants to purchase a billboard featuring the photos of missing women in the area.

"I've always envisioned that there would be a billboard for our women," she says. "I know that that's a huge expense for families. It's $6,500 just to put it up and then over $3,000 a year to upkeep it."

But for her, any lead on finding our women and changing society will be worth it.

"When are our women going to start being treated fairly and equally and it matters when we get hurt?'

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Photos from the event are below:

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