On Friday October 11th Meet Me @ the Bell Tower celebrated the International Day of the Girl with GIRL POWER. This event saw us brain storm ways we can keep young women and girls in our communities safe as well as take on a very important role in preparing tobacco ties for an event that happened the following day (Jingle Dress Healing Dance). It was a great evening we rang the bell, and took our pictures of approximately 30 throughout the night who ate cake, bannock (courtesy of Got Bannock?) and helped compile the following list. (via MM@BT Community Flip Chart method)
HOW DO WE KEEP GIRLS SAFE?
- Respect & Protect Your Sister – first and foremost, look out for your sisters and close female relatives – if everyone took care of their sisters our community would be a lot safer
- Buddy System – when you travel places, make sure someone is with you
- SAFE WALK system – we need a system in the neighbourhood where people can be escorted safely home or to their cars (a role perhaps for the North End AMbassadors?)
- Bust Stop Safety: Wait at bus stops with people if you think they are in danger and ask people for help if they look like they need help (even if it feels awkward)
- Get Involved: participate in safety events (COPP, MM@BT, etc)
- Build relationships with local police at every opportunity. Also, make sure you become familiar with how police systems work and how you can interact with them (legally)
- Check Ins: use phones and internet to check in with loved ones: say when you are laving/arriving at your destinations as well as your route
- Kids Must Know their Own Address: work with families so children are familiar with their own neighbourhood and know their street address
- UPR: treat our kids with unconditional positive regard when we encounter them in the community. There are enough people who treat them with suspicion, let’s be patient and loving….always.
- Escape! keep bus tickets/bus fare/cab fare/cell phone on you at all times so you can get to and from safety
- Escape! (Again) Get on the bus and talk to the driver or go inside of local businesses and speak to store owners and inform them of your concern
- “its ok to ask for help” – overall, just remember you should be able to ask your loved ones and people in positions of responsibility (like police) for help
- House Numbers Visible: make sure your neighbours have their house numbers visible
- BLOCK PARENTS: This is a good idea, having a sign visible in windows so kids know they can go their safely. We also discussed the slip side where someone could make the sign and falsely reproduce it…
- Group Dog Walks: increased traffic increases safety and people get to know their neighbours
- Be involved in children’s lives: ask kids what is important to them, what their goals are and encourage them to be whatever they want (regardless of gender norms)
- Help Others: offer to assist to help someone in need
- Go to School! make sure kids (any!) are in school
- 7 Teachings: follow the seven sacred teachings, they are good guidelines for living the good life (love, respect, honesty, courage, humility, wisdom, truth)
- Smile: smiles are free and contagious…so SMILE!
- Student Parent Support workers: There should be more staff to liaison between the school and the family to see what is needed in the home and in the classroom to increase student success (and their families success too)
- LEARN, LEARN & LEARN: Lots and Lots of Education -inside AND outside the classroom is needed for our kids to know how to keep them selves safe.
Photo of our group making the tobacco ties for the Jingle Dress event (check out #jingledress on twitter for more info)