May 5 is Red Dress Day, or National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People.
To help commemorate the day, students in the graphic design lab at R.B. Russell Vocational High School, located in the heart of the North End, have prepared t-shirts with designs their classmates have created.
“My design says no more stolen sisters, which includes every murdered woman, girl and two-spirited as well. I made a design that includes all, they’re our sisters, to commemorate them," said grade 11 student Calliope Funk.
Graphic Design teacher John Sobkovich says they decided to create these shirts to support the community.
“My spouse is Indigenous. My mom is Indigenous. To think they’re at higher risk of something based on sex and race, that’s how it hits home for me. We are a community classroom, and many people in our community have been affected by this cause (MMIWG2), so we want to be able to provide something to stand together, to be seen with the colour red, which is a homage to the red dress project.”
Students and staff at R.B. Russel hope that by creating these t-shirts, they can also start a trend to have a national red shirt day.
"One design can make a big impact," said Sobkovich.
The t-shirts went up for sale in the community on Wednesday and were sold out within a half hour.
All staff and students will be wearing the student-designed red shirts today.
"I plan to honour all these lost sisters who were taken too soon. It’s an emotional topic, and I am humbled to see my design on all these shirts,” said Calliope.
In Winnipeg, a red dress round dance will be held at noon today at Portage and Main to draw awareness to the day and to honour those who are still missing. The dance will be followed by a Memorial March to The Forks.