It’s an attempt to show survivors of domestic violence their communities are behind them.
The first ever Indigenous Intimate Partner Violence Awareness event is Oct. 9 in the Cheam First Nation Hall featuring J.R. Larose, Grey Cup champion, as keynote speaker.
“We’re very excited to host the inaugural event,” said Andrew Victor, Cheam councillor. “We are trying to draw more people into the discussion.”
Cheam First Nation, Chief Ernie Crey and councillors, together with Chilliwack RCMP and the Ending Violence Association of BC, are inviting the public to the Stand Up Against Violence Towards Women event.
Larose is a 2011 Grey Cup champion, former BC Lion, and proud Indigenous ambassador, originally from One Arrow First Nation in Saskatchewan, who uses his status and public profile to break the silence and engage men as allies.
Be More Than a Bystander recognizes that the vast majority of men do not commit violence against women. Most care deeply about the women and girls in their lives and in the world, and the campaign asks them to “take ownership and play an active role” in preventing it.
Inviting Larose is a great way to shift gears in this crucial conversation as more people come to understand that no one should be turning a “blind eye” to these “silent crimes,” Victor said.
A polished speaker who has delivered 400 presentations, Larose often shares what inspired him to overcome his personal traumas growing up fatherless in Edmonton’s inner city.
There will also be representatives on hand from the Moose Hide campaign, a grass roots movement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men who are standing up against violence toward women and children.
Everyone needs to get involved, Victor said.
“Violence against women affects families and the entire community, so to grow as a community, we need to address this,” the Cheam councillor said.
“We have to stop pretending it’s someone else’s problem.”
The invitation from the Cheam leadership is a real opportunity for community discussion.
“We need to get to a point where Indigenous women and girls see that their community is standing behind them.”
Stand Up Against Violence, the Indigenous Intimate Partner Violence Awareness event, is Wednesday, Oct. 9, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Cheam First Nation Hall, 52161 Victor Dr. There will be catered lunch and BC Lions swag up for grabs, say organizers.