National day of Remembrance on January 28. In memory of Cassidy Jean Bernard and all MMIW

National day of Remembrance on January 28. In memory of Cassidy Jean Bernard and all MMIW

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Roger Cuzner, MP;
Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous Relations;
Seamus O'Reagan, Minister of Indigenous Services

On an autumn day last October, in the small and close knit We'koqma'q First Nation, 22 year old Cassidy Jean Bernard was found murdered in her own home. Her twin baby girls were in the house with her. We, her family could never have imagined that as February approaches, no one would be arrested yet for this crime.

Not only our family members, but our whole community was traumatically thrown into the midst of the national epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Cassidy's death has lead the Mi'kmaw communities in Unama'ki (Cape Breton) to activism. Along with us the family, our neighbours and supporters continue to speak out, "This must not be allowed to happen." The tragic and senseless unresolved deaths of Indigenous Women must not be Cape Breton's story, not Nova Scotia's story, not Canada's story.

As Canadians we are all negatively impacted by these unsolved murders. It is important that all Canadians can stand together and know that we are valued, that we are important. Indigenous girls need to know that all Canadians value their potential as the next generations of leaders, creators, protectors, community members and family members.

All of the undersigned, stand together with the members of Cassidy's family. We ask that Cassidy's birthday, January 28, be named our official day of mourning and action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada. We respectfully submit that it should have two goals that go hand in hand like the two parts of a heartbeat - first raising awareness of those who are lost and whose deaths were not solved and whose families still wait for justice, and second pledging to value all lives so that we can move forward, confidently knowing no women feel less protected in our country.