More than 400 supporters marched to the B.C. Legislature today in support of the Moose Hide Campaign to raise awareness of violence against women and children.
The campaign hosted a provincial gathering at the Victoria Conference Centre, where a variety of keynote speakers were heard and men’s and women’s healing circles were featured.
As part of the day of action, thousands of men nationwide participated in a one-day fast that called upon those men to refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. The simple act of sacrifice was designed to represent a sense of empathy toward women who endure violence as a regular part of their lives.
The Premier has just announced $2 million to continue the work of the Moosehide campaign pic.twitter.com/2dJQx7gMx9
— Victoria News (@VictoriaNews) February 15, 2018
At noon, the participants of the gathering were joined in a march to the legislature by citizen supporters, representatives of various social organizations, Premier John Horgan and other MLAs. At the ceremony, the one millionth Moose Hide pin was presented to Lorelei Williams, the founder of First Nations Dance troupe Butterflies in Spirit, a group dedicated to keeping the memories alive of victims of violence against women.
Horgan addressed the crowd and pledged continuing support for the cause, as well as to the principle of supporting actions to combat violence against women and children. To that end, he announced that the province has earmarked $2 million to support the work of the Moose Hide Campaign.
Following the presentation of the pin and remarks from campaign founders Paul and Raven Lacerte, the members of Butterflies in Spirit took to the podium to tell their heart-wrenching stories of loss.
“My auntie Belinda has been missing for years and my cousin Tanya Holyk was murdered by Robert Pickton. I wanted to find a way to keep their memories alive and to honour all the women who have been victims,” Williams said.
All of the members of the dance troupe have either been the victims of violence, or have lost loved ones to abuse and violence.
Butterflies in Spirit then performed a dance in memory of the victims of whom they’d spoken as well as for all the women who have been victims of abuse and violence.
The Moose Hide Campaign began seven years ago as a grassroots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence toward women and children.
Wearing the small patch of moose hide is meant to signify a commitment to honour, respect and protect the women and children in one’s life.