Red Dress Cam­paign goes Sun­day

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Chris­tine HINZMANN Cit­i­zen staff chinz­[email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

It’s been 21 years since her best friend’s body was found near Lit­tle Lil­looet Lake.

Tammy Meise, the or­ga­nizer of the fourth an­nual Prince George Red Dress Cam­paign, got to visit the site for the first time just two weeks ago to gain some clo­sure about Kari Anne Gordon’s un­solved mur­der.

“And now I’m cry­ing,” Meise said. “At least they found her. At least they found her and I could say good­bye.”

It’s the heart of why Sun­day’s Red Dress Cam­paign to honour mur­dered and miss­ing women and girls is so very im­por­tant to her and oth­ers.

“We have to sup­port each other, we have to help each other with our heal­ing,” she added. “That’s why we do this.”

Not every­one gets to phys­i­cally go to where their loved one’s body is dis­cov­ered, Meise said.

Many are still miss­ing and some­times that’s the hardest part, she added.

“How many peo­ple get to do that?” Meise asked tear­fully. “I got to have some clo­sure. I hung a red dress for her. I re­leased a bal­loon for her and put flow­ers in the tree. But so many peo­ple don’t get to do that. It’s so im­por­tant that we sup­port each other be­cause it is heart wrench­ing.”

That’s why this cam­paign is so im­por­tant, she said.

“It’s in the hopes that fam­i­lies feel sup­ported,” she added. “We’re hop­ing they’ll feel a con­nec­tion so they can start their heal­ing jour­ney.”

Sun­day at noon driv­ers who are at the cross­roads of High­way 97 and 16 will see a drum cir­cle with the Khast’an Drum­mers and shortly af­ter that par­tic­i­pants of the Red Dress Cam­paign will line up along High­way 97 hold­ing empty red dresses.

Sim­i­lar events will be held across Canada to raise aware­ness about mur­dered and miss­ing women and girls.

“It cre­ates a con­ver­sa­tion, why are peo­ple there, why are they hold­ing a red dress,” Meise said. “So hold­ing the empty red dress is sym­bolic. That’s where all of our mur­dered and miss­ing women and girls should have been. They’ve been taken from us. It’s also to give them a voice. To honour them and to en­sure they are never for­got­ten.”

The event then moves to Lhei­dli T’en­neh Me­mo­rial Park’s Pav­il­ion where the empty red dresses will be hung in the trees.

Spe­cial guest speak­ers, in­clud­ing an elder to wel­come every­one to the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory and Mayor Lyn Hall will say a few words.

There will also be tra­di­tional dancers.

“The Red Dress Cam­paign is ul­ti­mately to honour all mur­dered and miss­ing women and girls and to sup­port one an­other in our own jour­ney of heal­ing,” Meise said. “It’s about com­ing to­gether as a com­mu­nity, com­ing to­gether as peo­ple to rec­og­nize that this is an is­sue that still goes on. It’s still hap­pen­ing. It’s to bring aware­ness and make sure they are never for­got­ten.”

CIT­I­ZEN FILE PHOTO

About 60 men, women, and chil­dren hold up red dresses at the junc­tion of High­way 97 and High­way 16 dur­ing last year’s Red Dress Cam­paign to honour mur­dered and miss­ing women and girls . This year’s event takes place on Sun­day.

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