THUNDER BAY - A woman who was the victim of a recent violent assault wiped away tears as strangers lined up to offer their support.
More than 100 people attended a solidarity walk Sunday evening that started at Paterson Park and marched through the downtown south core.
Walking in Solidarity with Indigenous Women was organized by students in the Aboriginal Community Advocacy Program at Confederation College just days ago.
Cinnamon Kelly, a student and organizer of the walk, said she and her fellow classmates were discussing the assault that took place Jan. 28 on Cameron Street where a 34-year-old indigenous woman was struck by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car. The woman sustained severe injuries as a result and police are still looking for suspects.
“It affected all of us and concerns us,” Kelly said. “We felt like we should show support to her and her sister. We feel that it was a hate crime and we wanted to support her, to show her that we all care, coming together.”
Several people spoke during the solidarity walk, with some calling Thunder Bay a scary city to live in, where women cannot walk down the street without fear of being victims of violence.
“This type of violence is unacceptable,” one of the speakers said. “Why does this violence continue? We shouldn’t have to worry if our mothers, our daughters, our women are walking down the road and that they may end up in the hospital, or worse, that they don’t come home at all.”
Kelly said she feels the incident that took place on Jan. 28 has largely been dismissed. However, seeing the amount of support for the victim who was at the solidarity walk, she is hopeful that the issue of violence against women and indigenous women is getting the attention it deserves.
“It makes me feel proud, especially for this woman,” she said.
Sarah Moreth came out on the cold evening because she said it is important for the people of Thunder Bay to come together and speak out that violence is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
“It’s one thing to make a post on Facebook, but I think it’s important that we actually come out together, out in the cold, and show people that we are here in solidarity,” she said. “It’s a big city, so there should be a lot of people here.”
Moreth added she was glad to see the victim of the assault has recovered enough to be at the walk and she hopes seeing all the people there to support her shows how much the city does care.
“We obviously can’t erase what happened, but hopefully we can let her and her family know that the whole city isn’t like that,” she said.
For Taina Maki-Chahal, it was important to show support for the victim of the assault, and all victims of assault.
“Having myself felt pain from being victimized and my family was victimized, I can understand how the family needs support,” she said.
Maki-Chahal added that racism is a growing problem and it’s time to speak out about it, to name it, and to end it in the city of Thunder Bay.
“As a resident of Thunder Bay, we need to name racism,” she said. “We have a lot of racism in the city and we all need to speak out against it and show our support, especially for people who are directly affected by it.”