SASKATOON — A noon-hour flash mob of Grade 7 and 8 students from St. Mary’s Wellness and Education Centre was recently held at the University of Saskatchewan’s Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre to raise awareness of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.
The flash mob took place during an anti-racism presentation March 21 by the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
St. Mary’s students have been researching missing and murdered women in Canada as part of the identity and social justice unit in social studies and English language arts classes. The students joined to form a long line with a length of rope on which they had pinned photos, poems posters, and research on individual cases, and invited conference attendants to examine their findings.
“There’s a lot of racism and a lot of missing and murdered indigenous women; we just wanted to try and stop it,” said student Jessica McNab.
“It’s not fair for these women to be forgotten or to be on a list, it’s important to give them a voice,” added Khyle Refuerzo, a student who also participated in the flash mob.
Student Keenan Kakakaway researched Susan Duff, a girl from Saskatoon who went missing 32 years ago. “She was just 12 years old, the same age as me,” noted Kakakaway. “It’s really sad that this happens to girls.”
When asked what could be done about racism, Kakakaway suggested people need to stand up to it and tell offenders it’s wrong.
“Our unit was looking at modern injustices in Canada, focusing on identity, racism and stereotyping,” said Tara Desroches, the Grade 7/8 teacher. “The students’ goal is to give these women back their voice so they are no longer just a number on a long list. We didn’t want these women being remembered and stereotyped for being just another missing Aboriginal person. We wanted them to be remembered for being human. Their lives matter.”
Desroches added that the initiative was a perfect fit for the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools’ mission to reach out and transform the world. “We did the flash mob so we can learn more information about the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada; also, so that we can share this information and take a stand to say this isn’t right and justice needs to be found.”
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, which sponsored the event, is a non-profit organization committed to promoting, fostering, improving and developing multiculturalism in the cultural, economic, social and political life of Saskatchewan while working to achieve equality for all residents.