The Caring House host inaugural remembrance services for MMIP
Gila River Indian News
The Caring House, part of Gila River Health Care, recently held its inaugural remembrance services and activities to raise awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) among its residents. On May 3, Lt. Gov. Monica Antone visited and distributed red MMIP T-shirts to the residents in preparation for the upcoming MMIP Awareness Day on May 5.
“We know how important it is to the Community and the growing sense for elders wanting to participate,” said Ross Wilkoff, The Caring House Administrator. Remembrance services led by Alicia Gonzales, The Caring House Recreation Therapist, said, “I think it’s fantastic that the residents get to honor their loved ones since we haven’t gotten to do anything for the past three years, it’s truly a blessing.”
During the first week of May, residents prepared for a solidarity event on May 5 through various activities. They colored hand-printed cutouts red and placed them on their face masks to symbolize support. Lt. Gov. Antone attended the event and distributed T-shirts to elders for the May 5 remembrance event. Almost 30 residents participated in the event.
“To be here and include them (elders) and let them be a part of MMIP week. I think it meant a lot to them because it’s part of healing and it shows the tribe cares,” said Lt. Gov. Monica Antone after the distribution of the red T-shirts.
“I’m so glad that most of our people are doing the walks … and we are going to participate too,” Velma Moreno, A Caring House resident from District 4. During the distribution, she shared her experiences and connection to losing a family loved one due to the national and tribal crisis.
Residents of The Caring House gathered in the gardens on the morning of May 5. They formed a prayer circle and sang gospel songs and prayers. Afterward, they participated in their own MMIP run/walk to continue their commemoration around The Caring House grounds.