Teams are running simultaneously from Prince Rupert and Smithers along Hwy 16 to meet in Terrace on June 22. (Facebook Photo)

First Tears to Hope Relay Run to Terrace for MMIWG

Over 50 participants are running the Highway of Tears from both Prince Rupert and Smithers

The first annual Tears to Hope Relay Run is taking place this weekend to commemorate the lives taken and affected by the Highway of Tears.

Beginning June 21, teams are running simultaneously from Prince Rupert and Smithers along Hwy 16 to congregate in Terrace on June 22 where a ceremony will then be held.

“We want people to believe in our cause and not see it as just another running event. We’re inviting people to be allies,” says organizer Lorna Brown. “We want to make a change and we’ve invited people from all walks of life and all nations to run with us.”

The relay includes family, friends and community members of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), carrying a deerskin scroll inscribed with a “Message of Hope”. The event is intended to mirror the First Nations’ traditional way of passing messages on between villages using runners.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | Highway of Hope

Over 50 relay participants are taking part, who are each wearing blue and running 10 km to meet another runner waiting to take the scroll and continue the journey. The 10km markers are represented with photos of women that disappeared along the highway.

“It kind of just puts a real face to the women that have truly been affected on this highway,” says Brown. “We’ve heard so many horrific stories and our family has personally been affected by it.”

Brown’s niece disappeared in 2005 and says it’s been difficult for her family to cope with it ever since. She says she wants the nation to acknowledge there is still pain that needs to be addressed in order to start moving forward.

“I think the whole murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls issue is something that we hear a lot about it in the news, but until you actually sit down and hear stories from people who have been affected, you don’t truly understand,” she says.

The newly formed Tears to Hope Society’s mission statement is to create healthy, safe communities for First Nations’ females and to remind everybody that “she is somebody” to end any violence against women.

READ MORE: New Tears to Hope Society moves on projects for MMIWG

Earlier this month, Brown was a part of the advocacy group that spoke on behalf of the National Inquiry of the Missing Women in front of parliament in Ottawa. She says they want to continue bringing awareness to the lives lost on the highway to the Prime Minister and let families know they are not alone in their grieving.

Brown says they would like for this run to become a national event, similar to the Terry Fox Run, where communities across the country will organize their own events to remember the MMIWG.

Organizing the run, she says it’s been encouraging to see how supportive people to make the relay possible. An RCMP officer and the mayor of Smithers, Taylor Bachrach, will also be running to pass on their message of hope.

“I’m really excited to see so many people, we’ve had a really great response from the community. We have had response from all over the Northwest,” Brown says. “The fact that local government have stepped up to the plate [with the] RCMP, it kind of gives you hope for the future. And that’s exactly what we want to accomplish.”

Runners will be on the road until dark of the first day and commence at dawn on the next. The finish line will be at the Millennium Trail parking lot in Terrace and relay participants are expected to cross at approximately 1:30 p.m. on June 22.

Following the run, a march will proceed to George Little Park where the Indigenous Peoples Day events are taking place.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Terrace Minor Softball closes season with wins

Teams with be competing in nationals in Saskatoon

Bicyclist crashes into car

Police briefs July 12-14

Malicious Monster Truck Tour returns to Northwest

Crowds gathered at the airport for show

Terrace SAR rescues shopping carts in Skeena River

Many have yet to be retrieved due to high water level

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Dog recovering after being drenched in hot coffee, B.C. man charged

Man was taken into custody, charged, and released pending a court date

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read