A Vigil for the 215 Children DiscoveredOn June 7, 2021 by jmweb
Last Sunday (June 30th) I got a text message about a Vigil happening the next day (Monday, June 31st) in downtown Charlottetown. It was after the discovery of 215 bodies outside the Kamloops Residential School which had an “enrollment” peaking at 500 “students”. The Indigenous organizers wished to have a small group (due to COVID19 restrictions) attend the ceremony of which I was luckily invited. I told them I would surely be there.
I was downtown bright and early. I captured some imagery of the morning prior to anything happening. The folks at the Confederation Centre of the Arts were lowering the flags to half-mast while the John A MacDonald statue had already had a pair of sneakers around it.
I popped into my office, which is across the street from the statue and worked on a couple of things like preparing for sending off the files.
I would occasionally turn around and look at the statue. I once stood and watched a lady walk up to the statue, grabbing a picture of the statue while someone (security?) sitting on a chair at the new library construction site in downtown Charlottetown watched from across the street.
Soon enough, one individual was sitting next to the statue holding a sign. I wasn’t sure if this was part of the ceremony I was invited to as it was an hour prior to the start time. She had a couple of pairs of shoes. I did some work on my computer while turning around every so often to check out the statue. After watching a familiar mini-van pull up, I watched as they started unloading sneakers and placing them next to the statue.
I popped down and saw a couple of familiar faces were there. They laid out the sneakers. At first organizers were worried about not having enough sneakers. In no time, they had organized 215 pairs! And as the morning went on, more people came to drop them off.
After capturing some images of the sneakers being laid out, I went across the street and filled the imagery. I had been asked to cover it the day previously and wanted to file as soon as possible. I filled while continuing to watch what was happening. As a crowd started to gather, I filled and started to head back downstairs.