Local long-time advocate Gladys Radek spoke on Wednesday, April 4 during the national inquiry for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girl’s last trip in Vancouver. (Ashley Wadhwani photo)

Extend MMIW inquiry two years: advocate

Gladys Radek says there are still too many voices going unheard

Longtime local advocate Gladys Radek gave opening and closing statements in Vancouver last week during the largest, and possibly last, community hearings organized by the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“We demanded an inquiry, and now we are going to demand that they follow through with the recommendations that we pull from this inquiry, because it’s the families that are important here,” Radek said in her closing statement April 8.

The inquiry was first launched in 2016 after calls for action came from Indigenous families and organizations to examine and report on the systematic causes of violence faced in Canada against Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry heard approximately 100 testimonies over six days during its final stop in Richmond, adding to the more-than 1,000 testimonies heard since the inquiry began nation wide in May 2017.

The commissioners are now waiting to hear from the federal government on their request to extend the inquiry another two years, citing the concern that there are more families who are waiting to be heard.

“Our families are loved and valued, our nations are loved and valued, and we can put this over-500 years of genocide to rest by creating change,” Radek said.

READ MORE: Final leg of national missing women inquiry begins in B.C.

Radek said she has listened to many of the testimonies of racism, violence and despair herself, and spoke about her niece Tamara Chipman who disappeared while hitchhiking in Prince Rupert in 2005.

“Our story is no different than any other story…there are so many other Tamaras out there,” Radek said.

If the two-year extension is granted, the time would be used to speak with experts, host roundtable discussions and open up more time to speak and hear from families during further inquiries held nationwide. She said the added time is greatly needed to complete the work they’ve done so far, and hopes others will write letters of support to government officials.

“We need everyone to say that it’s important that we complete this, we need to move forward together,” Radek said over the phone.

Lorna Brown, Radek’s sister, was in Vancouver with other members of her family, and agreed on the importance of the hearings and the amount of work still needed to be done.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her [Gladys]. I know that her voice will be loud and clear across Canada, and she has made a lot of sacrifices to do that,” Brown said over the phone. “There needs to be more than awareness, there needs to be change.”

“There is a lack of understanding and ignorance even in my own circle in the community, because this is such a big issue that sometimes people can’t wrap their heads around it.”

Radek headed to Prince Rupert on April 12 to continue her work as a family advocate for the national inquiry, and will provide insight on ways to implement the 700 recommendations from 50 reports made from past inquiries that have been put into writing but have yet to be implemented.

“Despite everything that we’ve been through, we have our laughter, we have our hugs, and we have our love. This is the love for our people that is shining through,” Radek said. “All we want to do is end violence against women.”

If the full two-year extension is not granted, the final report is expected to be complete by the end of the year before being released to the public in 2019.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Skeena Sawmills modernization delayed due to building condition

Terrace mill re-engineering the $10 million project after last winter revealed building weaknesses

Sandwich maker finds dough for summer camp

Pita Pit secures $1,000 donation for Camp Phoenix and underprivileged kids

Malicious Monster Truck tour coming to Terrace this summer

It’s the first time in 20 years monster trucks have rolled past Prince George for a northern show

NWCC gets green light for name change

The name Coast Mountain College in effect as of June 18

UPDATE: Truckloads of trash gathered from community clean-up

An estimated 250 people collected trash during the 2018 Terrace garbathon on Sunday

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report

Living wage varies between $16.51 in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

Most Read