For the first time, the Town of Sylvan Lake gave formal recognition to Red Dress Day with a proclamation made during a meeting on April 24.
The proclamation was important for members of council and the community, Mayor Megan Hanson said.
“Recognizing Red Dress Day is important because it raises awareness of the ongoing violence, discrimination and systemic injustices that Indigenous women and girls face in Canada and other countries.”
The town also has plans to execute a social media campaign to honour the memories of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Hanson added.
“This day honours the memory of those who have been lost or taken from their families and communities. Recognizing Red Dress Day across Canada, and specifically in Sylvan Lake is an important step towards achieving justice, reconciliation, equity for Indigenous peoples and honouring the resilience and strength of the Indigenous women and girls.”
For Red Dress Day, red dresses will also be hung outside of the Municipal Government Building to help raise awareness, Hanson said.
“The red dress has become a symbol of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls movement because it represents those who are no longer able to wear them. Wearing a red dress or displaying one in public places can show that the Town stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities and is a way for us to draw attention to the urgent need for action to address the root causes of this crisis.”
The town hopes that through the formal recognition of the day it continues to help raise awareness.
“Our hope is by recognizing Red Dress Day in Sylvan Lake we can help promote dialogue, education and awareness,” Hanson said.
”We hope this awareness contributes to supporting survivors and improving the safety and well-being of all Indigenous women and girls.”
At the next council meeting there will also be a proclamation to recognize the Moose Hide Campaign which is a movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys who are standing up against violence toward women and children, Hanson said.