City of Devon hosts inclusive awareness campaign for MMIWG Day

The City of Devon invites the public to come together on May 5 to unite and protect missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (Image credit/Mitch Wincentaylo)

“It’s a priority for us, and it’s not something that’s going to give up anytime soon. It’s a commitment. Education, outreach and alliance for MMIWG Awareness Day is so important , not just for one day, but for regular engagement and awareness in the community.

The City of Devon is running a multifaceted awareness campaign for National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Awareness Day.

Recognized across Canada each year on May 5, the occasion is considered by many to be a pivotal day for reconciliation. In Devon, leadership teams view the date as an opportunity to increase education opportunities and share a vision for a more unified and collaborative future.

Mitch Wincentaylo, Indigenous Engagement Coordinator for the city, described this year’s strategy to give the public another chance to develop a deeper understanding of the lasting impacts of the MMIWG, which he says is having a significant negative impact on modern society.

“It’s about changing that mindset, people becoming more vigilant, using their voices, speaking up and supporting each other,” he said.

“The more we come together, start to understand, listen to Indigenous peoples and their voices and start to understand the impacts of racism and colonization on our current society, that’s the only way we’ll start to see progress.”

As part of its commitment to education, the city has assembled 50 MMIWG Outreach Kits which are priced at $30. All proceeds from sales will be donated to Ermineskin Women’s Shelter. The kits include information resources and activities suitable for all age groups.

The reading material included in the kit was provided by the Devon Public Library and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The items have been designed to help young children begin to learn about the MMIWG in an appropriate way so that their understanding continues to develop as they grow and receive more information.

Wincentaylo explained that efforts to begin sharing information with young residents about the MMIWG are crucial to creating change, as this is an issue that affects all age groups.

“It has to be age-appropriate, but once you start developing that understanding at a younger age, as you get older and you get a better understanding and knowledge of those things, it adds to that change that we see in our communities people coming together and starting to rise up,” he detailed.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to keep people safe in and around Devon. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a safe and inclusive community for all. There will be no societal change unless everyone starts coming together and educating each other about things like this. That’s how those small steps forward start to happen.

He added that May 5 will see the community gather outside the city office in the evening for a fire and a panel of special guest speakers who will share their experiences with missing and murdered family members.

The community event outside of City Hall is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and end around 9 p.m. that evening.

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