When Joshua Cayer looks at the moose hide pin he wears on his lapel, his first thoughts are always of his daughters.
For the past seven years, Cayer – who is a Diversity Talent Inclusion Partner - Indigenous Peoples, TD Bank Group – has participated in The Moose Hide Campaign; a grassroots movement of men and boys who are committed to standing up to end violence against women and children.
As part of the campaign, supporters are encouraged to wear a pin adorned with ethically-sourced moose hide or animal-free synthetic, in order to help raise awareness of violence against women and children – especially those from Indigenous communities – and to spark conversations with friends and colleagues.
"I think of all the women and children in my life," Cayer said.
"My daughters, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, friends, neighbours … They all have an important role in society. I want them to be able to walk through society with the feeling of security and safety, and not have to justify their existence."
Cayer said that participating in the program is one way that he's working to create a better world for his two daughters, Olivia and Melody.
"No one should be afraid of violence just because of who they are," said Cayer, who is a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec and resides in Ottawa, Ontario.
"That's not a difficult thing to ask, it's possible."
Moved by the origins of the campaign
Cayer said he was deeply moved by the inspirational story behind the creation of the organization behind The Moose Hide Campaign.
According to The Moose Hide Campaign, the organization was founded by Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven, who then developed the idea for the campaign after they took a trip hunting for moose along Highway 16 in British Columbia.
The stretch of Highway 16 connecting Prince Rupert and Prince George is the location where many women from the Indigenous community have been murdered or gone missing dating back to 1970, with that section of the highway often being referred to as the "Highway of Tears."
It was there that Paul and Raven reflected on the area in which they were hunting, their relationship, and Paul's responsibility to protect, care for and raise his daughter in a world where she, as a woman from an Indigenous community, is three-and-a-half times more likely to experience violence than other women, according to this report from the Native Women's Association of Canada.
Since its inception in 2011, the Moose Hide Campaign has distributed more than 2.5 million pins across Canada, which provide all those wearing it with a visible statement of their commitment to ending gender-based violence.
Moose Hide Campaign Day
On May 12, the organization will mark the annual Moose Hide Campaign Day, where the group challenges men and boys – both those from Indigenous communities and other Canadians – to fast from sunrise to sunset as a demonstration of their commitment to "deepen our experience and resolve to create safe families, communities and a safe country for all women and children."
As part of its ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives, TD began its support of the Moose Hide Campaign in 2021 and made a financial donation to the organization again in 2022. On May 12, TD colleagues will be able to attend a Moose Hide Campaign awareness event featuring the co-founders of the Campaign.
"I wear the moose hide pin and fast as a reminder of the need for impact and change across Turtle Island (North America)," Cayer said.
"I want a future where gender-based violence is something that is not so prevalent in our society. A future where women, children and gender diverse people are not over-represented in negative statistics related to violence but instead by their true value and the gifts that they bring to their communities."
"I will continue to wear my pin until this is our reality."
TD donated to the Moose Hide Campaign in 2022. Along with a donation, colleagues are invited to attend an awareness event with the co-founders of the campaign on May 12. For customers, TD will feature Moose Hide Campaign information on screens in branches across Canada from May 5-12. For more information on how you can get involved, visit The Moose Hide Campaign website: https://moosehidecampaign.ca/.