Driving Awareness: Manitoba’s MMIWG2S Plate Initiative

In a long overdue announcement aimed at raising awareness and providing support, the Manitoba government has officially launched specialty license plates dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ (MMIWG2S) community. These distinctive plates, now available for purchase at Autopac agents across the province, hold a special significance in supporting Ka Ni Kanichihk, a Winnipeg-based Indigenous-led organization.

The announcement was made by Housing, Addictions, and Homelessness Minister Bernadette Smith and Justice Minister Matt Wiebe, who is also responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). The initiative stems from the heartfelt commitment of Minister Smith, who introduced the bill for these special license plates on behalf of MMIWG2S families, a cause close to her heart due to its personal impact on her own family.

Each set of MMIWG2S specialty license plates costs $70, and the government has designated $30 from each sale to go directly to Ka Ni Kanichihk. This Indigenous-led organization plays a crucial role in supporting affected families through learning and healing programs rooted in traditional Indigenous knowledge and trauma-informed practices. The primary focus of the proceeds will be to support education costs for students belonging to MMIWG2S families.

Expressing gratitude for the partnership with MPI and Minister Bernadette Smith, Dodie Jordaan, the executive director of Ka Ni Kanichihk, emphasized the initiative’s dual impact in raising awareness and providing tangible support. The funds directed towards education programs at Ka Ni Kanichihk contribute to driving change and honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals while also aiding survivors and communities on their journey to healing and justice.

The specialty license plates were developed following the passage of bill 204, receiving royal assent on May 30 with unanimous support from all political parties. Minister Smith highlighted that the designs were carefully chosen through community consultations and input from MMIWG2S family members, aiming to symbolize resistance against violence targeting women and gender-diverse individuals.

If all 6,000 available specialty plates are sold, approximately $180,000 will be provided to Ka Ni Kanichihk by spring 2024. Manitobans are encouraged to consider purchasing these distinctive plates, underlining the potential collective impact in supporting the MMIWG2S community and advancing the cause of justice and healing.