Williams Lake citizens of all ages gathered Friday, Sept. 23 for a Take Back the Night event to advocate for an end to all forms of sexual violence. It was raining lightly but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm.
Organized by the Violence is Preventable Committee, the event took place at the Purple House on Oliver Street and included an Indigenous welcome, live music, barbecue, children’s activities and a candle light vigil.
Indigenous elder, singer and drummer Carrie Phillip said everyone deserves to live a good life.
“We need to respect those who walk with us and those who have gone before us.”
Phillip said she could have been a murdered and missing woman as a teenager.
“I was exposed to life on the streets, not having support.”
She led everyone in singing the Women’s Warrior Song which was written by elder Martina Pierre of the Lilwat Nation.
Before she began the song, Phillip invited everyone to raise their arms in the air at the end when she would be stopping drumming to sing and show solidarity.
Part of the Butterflies in Spirit dance group consisting of family members of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, Phillip said the group travelled into the jungle in Colombia one time where Indigenous women were being brutally murdered.
“The song the people their sang to us was almost identical to the Women’s Warrior Song,” she said.
Tamara Garreau with the Violence is Preventable Committee said Take Back the Night started in Europe in the early 70s, was observed in New York in 1976 and in San Francisco in 1978.
Chelsey Benson arrived with her spouse Max Banville and their daughters Emilia and Eva to support the cause.
“I saw the poster,” she said.
Rose Tweedie and her great grandson Alex Rose Shorter, 5, stopped to paint a red rock to add to the Love Is rock garden out front of the Purple House as did Jolene O’Connor and her son Lucien, 6.
Carmen Mutschele performed some music and participated in the candle light vigil with her husband Shel Myers.