Red Dress Campaign goes Sunday
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.”
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.