FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Press Release: Online Rally to Focus on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and People on 4/25/20
- Crystal Cavalier, email@example.com, 336-221-4084, MMIWNC.com
- Antionette Kerr, firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-596-8260
Mebane, NC – April 23, 2020 – On Saturday, April 25th, families of victims along with state-wide women’s organizations will host a Facebook live gathering that focuses on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and People (MMIWGP). This online event will go from 10am to 1pm EST. Speakers/performers will include family members of victims, experts, advocates, and Native American performers. This is the online event to replace the MMIWGP march that was canceled due to the coronavirus in March. This is a call to action for activists, supporters and families to raise awareness, attention and bring justice to the many indigenous women and girls who have disappeared or have been murdered in NC.
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2020
Access: Facebook live, find link at https://www.facebook.com/events/455552131732954/
Due to the absence of consistent, standardized reporting on the issue, researchers have been prevented from gaining a true understanding of this epidemic. This rally highlights how poor data collection, lack of prosecution, and institutional/systemic racism have become ingrained and are contributing factors in the neglect of Native American Communities in NC.
According to one of the organizers, Crystal Cavalier, “We are walking with our ancestors behind us, and our Creator before us. When our native women rise and heal, we all rise and heal. Please prepare your signs, banners, and remember to wear RED shirts, hats, and/or regalia.”
North Carolina has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River. In 2010, there were more than 122,000+ Native Americans residing in the state, according to the US Census. Another point of great significance to the study were the profound challenges encountered while attempting to obtain case records. Nearly half of municipal police departments failed to respond at all or within the designated time frame required of public disclosure requests. In NC, racial misclassification was common, with some Native American victims classified as “Black”, “White”, or “Hispanic”. Often, Native women and girls from tribes that are not federally recognized were not identified as Native at all. Despite race typically being used as a classifier when crimes are reported, a few cities were unable to identify Native American, Alaska Native, or American Indian people in their databases.
One of the planned speakers, Gailya Paliga, president of NC National Organization for Women, said, “Indigenous women are raped, beaten and murdered at astounding rates. Proposed changes to the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA, would help deter these crimes and punish perpetrators by increasing tribal jurisdiction to include sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, and child abuse. We need to push our US Senators to reauthorize a strong VAWA like the one that passed in the US House over a year ago (4/4/19).”
Media is welcome. Confirmed speakers (and tribe where applicable) include
- Jane Jacobs, sister of Katina Locklear, who was raped and murdered in a patch of woods in Pembroke, NC in December of 2018. (Tuscarora).
- Shelia Price, mother of Rhonda Jones, who was one of two victims found near each other in Lumberton on April 18th 2017. (Lumbee)
- Native American performer Pura Fe, a singer-song writer, musician, artist-seamstress and teacher. (Tuscararora/Taino Nations)
- Native American performer Tantoo Cardinal, an award-winning actress of Métis/First Nations descent. Her 50-year career spans more than 120 film, TV and theater roles, and she is one of the most widely recognized First Nations actors of her generation.
- Kevin Wesaquate, spoken word poet and visual artist, is currently employed as a Multi-Disciplinary Indigenous Arts Leader at SCYAP. Wesaquate is the founder of the Indigenous Poetry Society with hopes of building a larger community of spoken word artists.
Shining a light on all the causes of violence, murders, and disappearances is a daunting task. But it is a necessary one. We are exposing hard truths about the devastating impacts of colonization, racism and misogyny.
Cosponsors include Arthur Morgan School, Indigenous People’s Movement, WomenAdvanceNC, LWV-Wake County, NC National Organization for Women, FindANative.Com, Support Our Arthritic Kids, Jay Winter Nightwolf Productions.
For more details, visit MMIWNC.com