The silent procession of students spoke volumes. Grade 7 and 8 students from St. Mary's Wellness and Education Centre carried photographs, posters, stories and poems into the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre at the University of Saskatchewan to raise awareness for missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.
The flash mob was part of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan's #MarchOutRacism campaign and in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism on March 21.
Students have been researching missing and murdered women in Canada as part of the identity and social justice unit in social studies and English language arts classes. "Our unit was looking at modern injustices in Canada, focusing on identity, racism and stereotyping," said Tara Desroches, the Gr. 7/8 teacher. "The students' goal is to give these women back their voice so they are no longer just a number on a long list. We didn't want these women being remembered and stereotyped for being just another missing Aboriginal person. We wanted them to be remembered for being human—their lives matter."
Student Keenan Kakakaway said he chose to research a young girl named Susan because she was the same age as him when she went missing over 30 years ago. He pointed out stopping racism can sometimes be as simple as speaking out and asking people to stop at the moment you see it.
Desroches added that the initiative was a perfect fit for the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools' mission to reach out and transform the world. "We did the flash mob so we can learn more information about the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Also, so that we can share this information and take a stand to say this isn't right and justice needs to be found."
Excerpts from These women, a poem by Jessica McNab (student):
These women. These women have family, they have brothers sisters children… These women have hearts, a soul, they are human beings just like you and me, they don't deserve the hurt… This woman was loved and now she is forgotten…
View photos and video on our Facebook page