April Beaver, Viola Thomas and Michelle Good

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

by Saphiya Zerrouk

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people. This is an important time for YWCA Metro Vancouver to leverage our influence and advocate for this community. Too little action has been taken to protect the lives and well-being of women and girls, especially those who are Indigenous, so we centred our campaign this year around the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by highlighting 16 of the 231 Calls for Justice from the Inquiry’s Final Report. 

For 16 consecutive days, we spotlighted a Call for Justice, showcasing what action has (or hasn’t) been taken since the Final Report was published in 2015. We offered suggestions on what further action needs to be taken by government and individuals to support these efforts. This impactful campaign was posted on social media and accompanied by Indigenous art depicting both the discrimination against and resilience shown by this community. 

Welcoming author Michelle Good  

To wrap up our 16 Days campaign, we had the honour of hosting Michelle Good at the Firehall Arts Centre on December 10, for a free community gathering and a reading of her book Five Little Indians. Michelle is a writer, lawyer, teacher, member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation and winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award. As she shared some of her research on the history of Residential Schools and the long-term impacts of colonialism in Canada, Michelle was charismatic, kind and captivating.  

Elder Mary Point opened and closed the event and taught the attendees a childhood lullaby in her native language of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation, encouraging the audience to follow along. Elder Eugene Harry, from the Squamish Territories, also provided a blessing. Witnesses were called forth to observe the discussion in order to report back what they learned.   

We are deeply grateful to Michelle Good for her generosity. 

To learn more about the YWCA’s commitment to truth and reconciliation, contact Tamara Robertson-Fry at trobertsonfry@ywcavan.org | 604 895 5860. 


This article is part of the 2023 Spring/Summer edition of our Contact Newsletter. 
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