Niagara College hangs up red dresses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake to raise awareness


Published February 10, 2023 at 10:17 am

A red dress hangs in the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake to raise awareness for the REDress Project

Now until next Thursday, students and staff will see red dresses hung up at Niagara College’s Welland Campus and the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Called the REDress Project, it’s a yearly initiative to raise awareness and honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual (2SLGBTQQIA+) people.

The project, which began in 2011 as an art installation at the University of Winnipeg by Métis artist Jaime Black, has since evolved into a national movement with many Canadian institutions getting involved.

“We continue to draw attention to the reality of our community’s experience with gender-based violence against our women, LGBTQ+, and two-spirited people by hanging red dresses,” said Leah Hogan, Associate Director of Indigenous Education at Niagara College.

“We all must keep the dialogue going on this national and human rights issue.”

Jillian Boyce of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics identifies that “Aboriginal females (220 violent incidents per 1,000 people) had an overall rate of violent victimization that was double that of Aboriginal males (110 per 1,000).

That rate is close to triple that of non-Aboriginal females (81 per 1,000) and more than triple that of non-Aboriginal males (66 per 1,000).

Boyce noted, “It must also be acknowledged that these statistics are even higher as a result of unreported cases of gender-based violence.”

The dresses will be on display at both campuses until Feb. 16.

Additionally, the NC button – a life-size logo located at the main entrances at both campuses – will be illuminated red on Feb. 14 in support of the REDress Project.

This is the college’s third year participating in the REDress Project.

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