Bridging the Divided

Within The Shadows Of Violence

Today is Mother’s Day. Many will celebrate with their children, and others will remember their mom in heaven. Some mothers are estranged from their children – an estrangement felt much more acutely on days like today. Countless other mothers are mourning children lost to death – some are mourning because motherhood has eluded them. It’s a bittersweet day. 

Earlier this week we celebrated Cinco de Mayo. My husband made tacos and margaritas. It made for a relaxing evening together watching a favorite series on one of the streaming channels. 

Did you know that May 5th is also Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day sometimes known as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People – MMIWG2S+? Either way, it’s a mouthful but more importantly, MMIWG2S+ is a more inclusive title to include girls, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, questioning, asexual, intersexual, and non-binary individuals. I love that the 2S+ is referred to as Two-Spirit+ people. We are all Two-Spirit people to a degree, and it has nothing to do with our sexual orientation or gender identity. We are all multidimensional individuals. My husband is 25% Comanche – a Two-Spirit person. He was adopted as a baby and honors his Native heritage as well as the heritage of his adoptive family. 

Did you know that homicide is the third-leading cause of death for Native American girls and teens, according to the CDC? (Green Bay Press-Gazette, May 6, 2022) Further, Native American women are 3x more likely to be murdered than white women, and only 116 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women were added to the U.S. Dept of Justice database out of more than 5700 cases in 2016. Unconscionable. 

The common denominator for all of these cases is violence. Some were sold into the sex trade industry, some were murdered outright, and some were victims of domestic violence. Violence, and in particular domestic violence, touches every gender, age, race, color, ethnicity, and socioeconomic group. It is estimated that 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 4 men in the US have experienced some form of domestic violence. That is a lot of people and every one of them looks like you or me.

What is sad about needing an awareness day for indigenous people is that they aren’t considered worthy of being counted, being valued by our society. Other colors, races, and ethnicities can relate. Why can’t we value all people regardless of their color, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, or socioeconomic status? 

Many missing indigenous women and girls were deprived of the opportunity to become mothers. Many lost their mothers or children to violence. Many still live within the shadows of violence…..

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