MMIW Awareness event held in Antlers
By Tasha Mitchell
June 1, 2022
May was Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) Awareness Month. Red is the chosen color for MMIW awareness. The role of red is being used to call attention to the invisible- missing and murdered. May 5 has been commemorated as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls across the nation, we are called upon to wear red to acknowledge thousands of young women and girls who go missing each year without so much as a search party.
According to Urban Indian Health Institute’s 2017 report there were 5,712 known incidents of missing and murdered Native American and Alaskan Native women across the US, only 116 of those cases were logged into the Department of Justice database. The report identified 506 cases across 71 urban cities including Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Based on this data, Oklahoma has the 10th highest number of MMIW at 18. Murder is the third leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women. Currently there are more than 220 missing Native Americans in Oklahoma (*2017 data).
On May 7, 2022 Outreach Services held its first Annual MMIW 5K/1 mile Awareness Walk and Community Event in Antlers. The event was a success! We had a total of 198 5K runners and 146 1 Mile walkers and more than 500 people overall in attendance. We had racers ranging from the ages of 5 to 80; and those who traveled from Dallas, Texas and Bentonville, Arkansas to compete in the race.
One of the many things that made our race unique was at the starting line. We had our Youth Stickball Players beating their sticks in rhythm with our drummers that made for a very memorable kickoff to this race. We also had national MMIW statistics placed along the beginning of the route. We had volunteers from the local Girl Scouts troop cheering the runners on.
Aside from the 5K and 1 Mile Awareness Walk we had 18 program booths and three vendor booths.
We are very excited to have had the opportunity to bring awareness to MMIW by hosting this race and look forward to an even bigger and better event next year.
Tasha Mitchell is the Director of Project EMPOWER.