Winnipeg women are joining in a national movement calling on the federal government to take action on murdered and missing aboriginal women in Canada.
The Am I Next? campaign asks aboriginal women to take a photo of themselves holding a sign that asks “Am I next?” post it to social media and challenge a friend to do the same within 24 hours.
- Protesters plan 2,100-km walk for murdered, missing inquiry
- Reports contradict Stephen Harper's view on aboriginal female victims
- Tina Fontaine death renews calls for inquiry into missing women
“People are just trying to empower themselves in any way they can. They are trying to take back their power because in some ways, our communities, our families, feel powerless,” said Winnipegger Rebecca Chartrand, who has already participated.
Canadian Holly Jarett helped spark the campaign in Canada.
It first started in the United States in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Young men held signs asking, “Am I next?” in an effort to draw attention to police brutality.
But recently, Jarett repurposed the campaign for Canadian aboriginal women.
“I know some people think that it’s very harsh, but it's a very, very valid legitimate concern that’s coming from a core of our community,” said Jarrett, from Cornwall, Ont.
Jarrett’s cousin Loretta Saunders was killed in February after completing her honours thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women.
“I’ll always remember she was passionate about it, and I don’t want anyone to ever forget,” she said.
Jarrett wants a national inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women – something the federal government has so far refused to launch.
“Stephen Harper refuses to call for a national inquiry, and I refuse to stop,” said Jarrett in a video she posted online as part of the campaign. “Look at your daughter and your sister and your mother and ask yourself, are they next?”
The campaign has spread quickly, but not everyone involved wants a national inquiry.
In Winnipeg, Chartrand wants immediate action.
“I understand what people want is an inquiry, but at the same time, what we need is action,” she said.
Chartrand hopes the campaign, at the very least, pushes Canadian politicians to action on the issue.
“I have a 10-year-old daughter. Will she be next?” she said. “If I ever lost my daughter … that would be the end of me, and I would probably think and wish for the same thing.”