Green lights a 'beacon of safety' for violence prevention
The Treaty 3 Women's Council is launching a violence prevention campaign in northwestern Ontario and is asking community members to change the lights over their front doors to use green-coloured bulbs.
Karen Kejick is behind what organizers call the Green Light Strategy. She said participants will show their commitment to violence prevention, and offer a safe haven.
Kejick said the strategy is response to statistics from Treaty 3 police that she says show a rise in violence in Treaty 3 communities. The women's council is also connecting it to the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Onigaming First Nation is the first community to launch the Green Light campaign, and Kejick said she hopes others will follow. The next launch will be in Nigigoonsiminikaaning (Red Gut) First Nation.
Treaty 3 Council is distributing the green light bulbs for people to put outside of their homes. People who display the lights are making a statement that they commit to violence prevention — and that their home is a safe place.
Kejick said the colour green is significant.
"It's culturally significant in that green represents healing, and it also represents our connection to the land," she said.
Kejick said the council is considering other actions as part of a long-term strategy to address high rates of violence, such as home security systems linked to Treaty 3 police, especially for vulnerable people like the elderly, single women and children.
"We must act courageously to look at violence in our communities and work together in harmony to listen to our communities and respond,” she said.
Partnerships need to be formed with other stakeholders to work on a long-term plan about violence prevention, Kejick added.