In its first several days, the #22Days project—supported by the Anglican Church of Canada and spearheaded by deans and bishops in the church—saw an outpouring of grassroots participation and commitment to further the work of healing and reconciliation.
Daily videos (called sacred stories) and prayers were first published on the 22Days website starting on May 31, the first day of the closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The videos are on-camera interviews with survivors, teachers, and those affected by residential schools.
Survivors spoke of the emotional trauma of being removed from their families and the conditions at the schools; and also their coping strategies and resilience that helped see them through. The accounts of two former staff members who worked at the Indian residential schools illustrated how even well-meaning individuals became the chief instruments of government policy that the TRC summary report has described as “cultural genocide.”
In addition to 22 days of prayer, the call for churches and cathedrals across the country to ring their bells for each of the 1,122 Indigenous women reported missing or murdered from 1980 to 2012 received an overwhelming response during the first week of the project.
As of June 9, 84 Anglican parishes from B.C. to Newfoundland had expressed a commitment to ring their church bells to raise awareness of an ongoing national crisis, posting images and updates through social media that found their way onto the Wall of Commitment at 22days.ca.
The frequency of new posts on the wall, made by using the hashtag #22days, testified to the deep feelings that events surrounding the TRC have evoked among Anglicans across Canada. Many parishes took part in local versions of closing ceremony activities, such as the Walk for Reconciliation or the planting of heart gardens to remember children who attended residential schools.
The strong response to the #22Days project resulted in coverage by news outlets such as the CBC and Huffington Post. Yet it was the responses of ordinary Anglicans that most illuminated and fueled the spirit of the campaign.
“So proud to be a Christian raised Anglican today,” tweeted user @JennJefferys on June 1. “Thank you @generalsynod for recognizing our horrific mistakes & joining #TRC2015.”
Anyone can add their own commitment to the wall by tagging a post on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #22days, sharing a commitment on Facebook and tagging The Anglican Church of Canada, or emailing their commitment to [email protected].
Sacred stories will continue to be posted on the 22Days website daily until National Aboriginal Day on June 21. To see the videos and sign up for updates, visit 22days.ca.
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