Would you rather have 1,000 people attend your funeral or have one person show up for you while you’re in crisis?
Would you rather have several reporters tracking your death, asking, “Why did this happen?” or would you rather them have reported your sister going missing years ago?
After seeing photos and reading reporter Allayana Darrow’s article detailing the feelings expressed at the vigil march for Selena Not Afraid down Sheridan’s Main Street Jan. 22, I felt so convicted.
Why did I not go?
In the photos, you see bystanders respectfully paying their condolences to the hurting friends and family walking by.
My first thought was, “That’s cool that even bar goers were involved.”
My second thought was, “These people aren’t involved at all.”
They’re simply bystanders, watching the participants walk by.
You read in the words of those participating that the problem lies in the bystanders, the people who see the missing girl Facebook pages pop up left and right and remain in their comfortable seats, possibly in their minds just adding up the running count of missing Indigenous women they’ve seen this week.
I’m one of those bystanders.
I feel a bit helpless, as words only go so far and that’s where I could contribute best, as my skills are limited and my scope of influence only stretches so far. On the other hand, words are powerful and I think we saw that through Isabella Yellowtail’s moving speech during the vigil.
As fast as I — and I’m sure all of us — want to see change, I believe it may have to start with one small step.
I’m committing to my first small step — keeping MMIW on my reporting radar and reaching out to our neighbors to the north as often as we would for anyone in the Sheridan County community. Usually, The Sheridan Press reporters call about any missing person or death investigation listed in the reports to ensure we don’t miss a suspicious murder or missing person. I want The Press to have that same nose-to-the-ground mentality in researching the injustice going on in our backyard.
I’m open to suggestions on how The Press can better address the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women in our state, region and country. Email me at email@example.com.