An emotional gathering took place in Winnipeg’s north end this weekend as the 12th annual No Stone Unturned free concert honoured hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in Manitoba.

Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith has been at the helm of the event’s organizing committee each year since its inception in 2008.

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Smith’s sister Claudette went missing near Norway House, Man., in July 2008, and shortly after, Bernadette began organizing the annual all-day free concert in St. John’s Park to honour her sister.

“It was to bring community together around the issue and to help people understand that it’s not an Indigenous issue, it’s not a women’s issue but it’s a human issue and that it could happen to anyone,” Smith said.

Art, music and entertainment filled St. John’s Park throughout the day on Saturday.

The event also brought out dozens of community groups that are banding together to keep the spotlight on the issue of MMIWG.

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“There’s a lot of different organizations here so we can network, and if we network and communicate, we’re only going to be stronger in getting this word out and fighting for the cause of missing women,” said Darrell Warren of the William Whyte Resident Association.

For Smith and the families of other missing women and girls, the annual concert instils a sense of hope.

“Anytime a phone rings or there’s someone at the door, the first thing that goes through your mind is: ‘Can that be the call that tells us where Claudette is? Or is that someone at the door that’s telling us where Claudette is?” Smith said.

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