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Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group – Day 4

December 18, 2010

At 6:30 p.m. on Friday, October 1, Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group and members of the community met at aceartinc. to prepare participation in the second of three human billboard actions aimed at raising awareness about the disproportionate levels of violence faced by Aboriginal Women and encouraging citizens to help bring and end to this violence by understanding the intersecting problems of colonialism, racism, and sexism, among other social inequities.

Much like the previous weekend, following an introduction, community members selected the t-shirt they wanted to wear, posed for photos wearing the t-shirts, and practised assembling in the line that would create the human billboard effect. The location selected for the evening was in front of the MTS Centre just prior to a hockey game. Participants walked in single file from the gallery to the MTS Centre so the statement of their t-shirts were visible while in procession.

This time the media was alerted in advance, and they were there to greet us from both television and radio stations. The line was formed and attention from passersby was caught immediately. Journalists interviewed our designated spokesperson and passersby while participants of the action handed out more information cards to people in proximity that explained the problem of violence against Aboriginal women, and how to be involved in helping to end it by, for example, refusing to believe racist and otherwise negative depictions of Aboriginal people in the media, and contacting local politicians to ask them what they are doing to end violence against Aboriginal women.

Just as conversation started to buzz amongst passersby at the mall the week before, a man accompanied by his daughter asked an organizer why this campaign emphasized the problem of violence against aboriginal women rather than violence against all women, or even just violence in general. He was shocked to learn the statistic that Aboriginal women are 5 times more likely to experience violence compared to non-aboriginal women.

At one point, a security guard from the MTS centre came outside to enquire about the action. He was understanding enough and did not prevent us finishing as per our own schedule. At the end of the pre-determined duration of approximately 5 minutes, participants returned to aceartinc. There we talked about the experience and confirmed the date of the next action for anyone wishing to participate again. Jamie Black told us about her ongoing initiative,The REDress Project. You can find more information about that here:!/group.php?gid=143375419021308

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