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LETTER: Make it your business to care, help, listen and be an ally

The Amata Transition House is a safe place for women and their children
A rally seeking justice for Carmelita Abraham was held on Mother’s Day in Quesnel with a walk starting from the Willow Inn to the Quesnel Courthouse and RCMP Detachment. Murder suspect Joseph Simpson is scheduled to make his next court appearance early next week. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Cariboo Observer)


Some Amata Transition House staff and I attended the Red Dress Day acknowledgments at the Quesnel Tillicum Society Native Friendship Centre on Thursday, May 5.

Amata Transition House is woven into the story of the abused, forgotten, missing and murdered Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and foreign settler women as their spirits have or may have rested here, behind these walls and in this safe home Some Amata staff knew of their names, faces, stories, tragedies, vulnerabilities, pain, and even laughter and voices.

For the ‘now voiceless,’ we will come together and give cause to why safe places like Amata, Seasons House and Bridges are necessary.

While these missing and slain women lived in despair and walked on the streets as invisible to many, some showed up at our doorstep; when they did, we held no judgment of their story, and we sought to nurture and show them compassion. We saw them; we made space for them.

Amata Transition House supports all women who walk this earth, and now is the time to rise and speak up in solidarity for those who are ‘now voiceless.’

On Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8) some Amata staff walked along the streets of Quesnel to be allies and supporters in the Justice for Carmelita rally. I too stepped out of my work and life routine bubble to be there. I listened to the prayers, I heard the songs and beating drums, the cry for justice; I wondered if Carmelita’s daughter would defy the odds of oppression and colonization and invisibility. Could she ever feel safe, protected, seen, valued, or respected wherever she walked? Who is responsible for that outcome? I showed up to offer support and to share the burden. What else can I do, more importantly, what can we do?

Amata will stand up and make it our business to be that place of refuge. To be that house that welcomes women and children to a home with a safe room and warm meal when there is no other safe place.

Have you experienced abuse or domestic violence, or are you fleeing systemic trauma? Are you able and ready to move towards the next step in your journey where you can feel safe and be heard? Can you live in a group environment and participate with us in developing your safety plan? Come over. Use your voice.

The Amata team is listening and we see you.

We are available 24/7 for you to call 250-992-7321 and talk with, or you can schedule an intake assessment.

Lauren Johnson

Executive director

Amata Transition House


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About the Author: Quesnel Cariboo Observer Staff

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