Grade 5 students create music video for MMIWG awareness as part of human rights project showcase

Elementary students from a Winnipeg school created a music video to raise awareness about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as part of a series of projects by young people showcased at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The Last Red Dress Project is composed by the Grade 5 class at Strathcona School.

“We thought a song would be a powerful message especially a song that is written and created by students,” said teacher Peter Grozdanovic. “So then we paired up with musicians, video editors and graphic designers and collaborated together to create this amazing piece of music.” 

Grozdanovic said he helped the students with their research by using picture books and online tools. First they wrote a poem, then turned it into a song and overall the project was in the works for about a year. 

The students also learned how to conduct interviews, operate a camera and learned how to do reporting. 

“Then they interviewed each other and staff members and then they went out to the community and spoke to people,” he said. 

Music teacher Donna Greaves also helped out the students. 

“I wrote the melody based on the students’ poem and then the students started putting it together and rehearsing and practising and recording,” she said. 

The Last Red Dress project was part of the annual Be an Upstander Showcase at the museum. 

Grade 11 student Ahana Gosh from Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute also did a project on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

“I think it’s really important because a lot of missing and murdered Indigenous women, their voices are very unheard,” she said. “Especially in Canada and on the news I think it’s really important their voices are heard.” 

“I may not be Indigenous myself, but I find this issue to be really important and I find that the rest of Canada needs to acknowledge that this is a huge crisis and it needs to be talked about.” 

A woman stands at a table
Grade 11 student Ahana Gosh from Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute stands with her project. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC )

Over 70 students from various schools participated in the showcase, said Graham Lowes, manager of education at the museum. 

A release for the showcase said the annual event highlights Manitoba students in grades 4-12 who learn about an important human rights issue in the classroom and then take action to make a difference.

This was an important event for students because it brings them into a public sphere and bring their work from a classroom,” said Lowes. “Then we invite the public to not hear from human rights experts but from students to share their learning and issues that they are seeing in the world today.”