Members of St. Ann’s Catholic Women’s League pose with their red sand at the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial as part of the Red Sand Project on June 10, 2018. Wendy Saugstad photo

St. Ann’s Catholic Women’s League fights slavery with Red Sand Project

The group spread red sand in the cracks of the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial

The St. Ann’s Catholic Women’s League took part in the Red Sand Project, which is aimed at spreading awareness and bringing an end to human trafficking, on Sunday, June 10.

Sixteen women gathered to spread red sand in the cracks of the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial at the end of Bowron Avenue at the River Walk. They had permission from the Women’s Resource Centre to use the memorial.

The Red Sand Project was initially started by Molly Gochman, an artist and activist in New York City. Participants are encouraged to fill the cracks of sidewalks in with red sand and watch how the sand changes over time.

According to the Red Sand Project website, more than 40 million people are currently enslaved around the world. More than 200,000 red sand kits have been shipped out around the world to activists trying to raise awareness about human trafficking.

The gathering took place following the 70th anniversary lunch meeting of the women’s league. Maureen Sanderson, the communications chair of the league, says: “It’s against slavery against women and girls in particular, but also women and children, so we wanted to support it. It’s to raise awareness of the fact that people are enslaved at the profit to other people.”

The event wasn’t originally meant to take place at the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial, but not wanting to displease the city by filling in sidewalk cracks (as the project suggests) they got creative.

“[The Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial] actually is a more appropriate site than just on the sidewalks, really,” says Sanderson.

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