Flags at all City of Brantford facilities will be lowered to half-mast on Wednesday, May 5, and the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts marquee will be lit red tonight in memory of missing and murdered Indigenous people.
Red Dress Day, observed annually on May 5, is a National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & 2-Spirited people (those who identify as having both a feminine and masculine spirit).
The REDress project was first established by Metis artist Jamie Black in 2010, with the objective of raising awareness of the issue of disproportionate missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada and the United States. Black first created an installation of empty red dresses at the University of Winnipeg on May 5th, 2010. It is now a permanent exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
Recognized across Canada and the United States through marches, memorials, and walks, many people will also wear red or hang red ribbons and dresses outdoors, in windows, and in public spaces. The dresses are empty, to evoke the missing women who should be wearing them. The colour red is significant as it is believed to be the colour that connects the physical and spiritual worlds and as Black explained, symbolic of “our lifeblood and that connection between all of us.”
An instillation of hanging red dresses will be on display at Wilfrid Laurier Brantford, in the courtyard behind the Research & Academic Centre. Each dress will have an accompanying fact sheet to bring awareness to individual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.