Time to rewrite the tale of two cities in Winnipeg

Photo by STEPHEN RIPLEY, MyToba.ca

Will Tina Fontaine’s apparent murder at age 15 here in Winnipeg be the catalyst to launch an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women?

Wouldn’t want such an inquiry to be all about finding someone to blame, within a narrow focused context, leading to endless accusations, lawyers battling it out, and ultimately, probably not much of value resulting from it, the conclusions reached released with little effect … probably years from now. Meanwhile, the murders  continue, more women go missing. You know how these things go.

What I’d like to see, while police continue to investigate Tina’s and all murders and missing people cases locally, is Winnipeggers taking a major step to healing the whole aboriginal/non-aboriginal disconnect we have in this city, and make a concerted effort  to really get to know each other a LOT better.

Pause for the skeptics to make their “why can’t we all get along” jokes. Done? Then please at least consider the following.

I will happily volunteer for a committee that organizes a massive gathering of aboriginals and non-aboriginals in this city who don’t know each other yet, and probably don’t have much desire to, but definitely should be on eye to eye speaking terms.

We need to fill Investors Group Field some fine fall Saturday with a non-traditional gathering of Winnipeggers who are tired of defining other parts of the city by stereotypes, and finally want to make an effort to just get to know and respect each other as the people and individuals we all are.

Pause for the usuals to spew, “What a bunch of CRAP!!!”

Yeah well, I think the status quo is crap, and I don’t see it changing unless caring people with foresight make the effort to change our local dynamic for the better.

I can see a stage with a microphone, all on the big screen, personal stories being shared, some music, just a great meet and greet getting to know you event between people who all … live in the SAME CITY!

The core area is not all drunk Indians, the burbs are not all rich white racists. The recent Tina Fontaine gathering showed that a lot of people in this city and province, of all walks of life and all races, care a lot about a young girl, any young girl, who is murdered and dumped like garbage in the river.

We need a lot less of “this is all your fault” between the usual players in this city and province, and a lot more, “nice to meet you, what can I do to bring us closer together as people and neighbours, and what can I do to help?”

“Hey, look at the fun our kids are having together!”

We can start, within this city, to set an example worthy of calling ourselves the home of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We can set an international example that may inspire others to take a look at their traditional dysfunction and make an effort to seek change for the better.

Yes, skeptics, I know how corny and Pollyanna this must sound to some, but frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.

If we, as a community, work harder to get to know and respect each other, and lift each other up rather than grind each other down, it will eventually lead to the murder rate dropping, fewer people going missing, and disadvantaged kids like Tina Fontaine having a much safer city to come to.

Thanks for reading this. Whether you agree with it or not, please share it on Facebook etc., and let’s at least get people talking. The status quo … is a killer.

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