Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to you regarding the urgent need for federal funding to establish a low barrier, 24/7 safe space in Winnipeg. Recent tragic events show how desperately needed such a facility is.
Last month, five Indigenous women lost their lives in our city due to violence and failing systems. They were loved, and they were valued. Our hearts go out to their families and all those who are mourning their loss.
This is a crisis of violence. Indigenous women, girls and two spirit individuals are dying because of a failure of governments to respond to this crisis on the scale that’s required.
It has been three years since the final report from the National Inquiry in to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was published. Despite your acknowledgment that the situation constitutes a genocide, Indigenous women, girls and two spirit individuals continue to be killed. At the same time, progress towards implementing the report’s 231 Calls for Justice has been painfully slow.
One of the Calls for Justice relates directly to the establishment of a 24/7 safe space. Call for Justice 4.7 calls upon: “all governments to support the establishment and long-term sustainable funding of Indigenous-led low-barrier shelters, safe spaces, transition homes, second stage housing, and services for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people…”
For over 10 years, community leaders have been demanding a 24/7 safe space for women, girls and gender diverse people fleeing violence who have nowhere else to go. Despite having a domestic violence rate that is twice the national average, Winnipeg is one of the few major cities in Canada without this kind of space.
It’s vital that women and girls have a culturally appropriate, specialized safe space with staff who have expertise in supporting those who have experienced gender-based violence. This expertise is present in our community, but what’s missing right now is the political will to get it done.
We cannot afford to wait any longer while lives are at risk, so we ask the federal government to immediately invest in funding a 24/7, low barrier safe space in Winnipeg.
Dodie Jordaan, Executive Director, Ka Ni Kanichihk
Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament, Winnipeg Centre
Leslie Spillett, Community Advocate, Grandmother, leader
Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, Chair, National Family and Survivors Circle
Kendell Joiner (Méstaéhotóá'e), Executive Director, The Native Clan Organization
Haven Stumpf, Executive Director, Urban Circle Training Centre Inc.
Rachel Sansregret, CEO, Winnipeg Indigenous Friendship Centre Inc.
Greg Georgeson (he/him), acting Executive Director, Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape
Trevor Laforte, Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre
Diane Redsky, Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre
Lorie English, West Central Women’s Resource Centre
Dawn Sands, community person
Marileen Bartlett, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development
Damon Johnston, the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg
Mary Burton, Fearless R2W
Shannon Hoskie, Manitoba Moon Voices
Nikki Komaksiutiksak, Tunngasugit, Welcoming Winnipeg’s Urban Inuit
Jarred Baker, A/Executive Director, Onashowewin Justice Circle
Shanlee Scott, Executive Director, Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.
The Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle
The 2SMMIWG Manitoba Coalition
Hon. Marc Miller
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc
Hon. Ahmed Hussen
Hon. Patty Hajdu
Hon. Marci Ien
Hon. Chrystia Freeland