The Lieben Center for Women hosted their monthly Women’s Journey event on March 22. The topic of this month was Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. 

Keaomalamalama Liu, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a student staff member in the Lieben Center for Women and presented on MMIW, later leading an activity for those in attendance to make red macrame keychains which are a common symbol of MMIW often seen as red handprints that help spread awareness about this issue. 

During the presentation, Liu shared some facts on the subject: Indigenous women are murdered 10 times more than all other ethnicities, many times the cases of Indigenous women are not documented by law enforcement while 95% of the cases are not covered in the media.

“The feeling that victim’s family members feel when the case of their loved one isn’t receiving greater attention or effort is what sticks with me most,” Liu said.

A portion of the film, “Say Her Name” was played along with a trailer of the film, “If I Go Missing” to help explain the struggles that the Indigenous community are currently going through with the rising rates of missing Indigenous women. 

Yvonna Lopez, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, attended the event and said, “one thing that really stuck with me in the short documentary we saw were the realities of how law enforcement and political figures respond to missing Indigenous women.”  

Lopez continued to speak on how “corrupt” the figures that are supposed to care and protect citizens are with their lack of concern for MMIW.

“MMIW is not nearly covered enough to get the traction it needs to make a difference,” Sydney Westphal, another student staff member in the Lieben Center for Women, said. “Something that shocks me every time we do an MMIW event is how little coverage and advocacy it gets. I would like the keychains to act as conversational pieces to bring more awareness to MMIW.”

When asked how we can spread awareness on MMIW, Liu said, “Education. Learning about missing and murdered indigenous people, what the issue and movement is, the statistics, current efforts, and how it impacts indigenous people and victim’s loved ones, gives us the potential and background to go out into the world and share what MMIW is with others.”

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