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This article was published 26/6/2017 (968 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Tracie Leost is a young advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and is excited to be representing Manitoba in two major events this year.
Leost said her summers were never this exciting and busy. The 18-year-old young women will be speaking at We Day Canada in Ottawa July 2, followed by competing in the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto and being one of the torchbearers for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
"I’m really excited because I get to be a part of such cool things," Leost, who is Métis, said. "I remember as a kid, summer would be hanging out with your friends and going to bonfires, but now that I’m really involved in the community and how much I love volunteering and interacting with others… I’m really excited for the experience and opportunity, not only where it takes me but where it takes my MMIWG journey."
Leost’s journey advocating for MMIWG started in 2015. The track and field and cross country athlete ran 115 kilometres from the community of Oak Point to The Forks in Winnipeg to raise money for the families of MMIWG. Her activism was featured in Vogue and several media around the world. She was also featured in the music video Run Sister Run from Cass McCombs, an American singer from Los Angeles.
At We Day Canada, she will be talking about MMIWG and her story raising awareness about this important topic. Leost spoke at We Day Manitoba in 2016, but this time she gets to address the country.
"I’m really excited because one of my biggest dreams was to be at Parliament Hill for Canada Day," she explained, adding speaking at We Day has always been a dream of hers and now she will be having her dream come true once again. "I’m really excited about associating myself and connecting with youth so that we can come together to build a stronger future so that although that past 150 (years) haven’t been great, the next 150 could be better."
Leost said her parents never hid the history of Indigenous people from her and that she was always aware of violence against Indigenous people and modern-day incarceration rates. For this reason, she is a University of Regina’s Faculty of Social Work student.
"Social work is what I want to do for now and start my career that way and considering that I advocate for Indigenous people and MMIWG, it’s the perfect fit because that’s what social work addresses."
Leost won’t be competing at the Canada Summer Games, but she will be running with the torch at the opening ceremony which takes place July 28, at 7 p.m. at Bell MTS Place.
"I went to the revealing of the names ceremony, and I realized how much Manitoba and Winnipeg are really rooting for this. I’m really excited to be a part of something our city is really rooting for," the Garden City Collegiate alumni said.
She added these experiences would help her connect with more people and continue to build her platform to share the awareness of MMIWG.
"Experiences are what benefit things and make you a person, what you experience and how you experience things. I think that moving forward might change my life because We Day Manitoba did," she concluded.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org