'She mattered:' Friends and family march in memory of Tanya Brooks
Friends and family members of Halifax murder victim Tanya Brooks gathered Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.
Holding posters and images of Tanya, dozens of supporters marched from the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre to St. Patrick’s-Alexandra School, where they gathered for a remembrance ceremony.
Tanya’s body was found in a basement window well of the Halifax school the afternoon of May 11, 2009.
Vanessa Brooks says she chose to gather at the spot where her sister’s body was found in order to reclaim it from her killer.
“I’m taking this place back. This has always been forseen to me as a really dark and dirty place. To know that she was here, alone, and cold and, God knows, most definitely afraid. So with that fear, I’m choosing to take that fear and reclaim it for strength,” says Vanessa.
“Whoever has done this to my sister, this isn’t your place anymore.”
As they mark the 10th anniversary of Tanya’s murder, both the police and her family are asking anyone with information about the case to come forward.
“Ten years is too long and it shouldn’t have been this long,” says Vanessa.
Investigators say Tanya was known to frequent the Gottingen Street area. She was last seen leaving police headquarters on the street around 8:20 p.m. the night before she was found dead.
Investigators believe Brooks knew her killer and that there are people who have information who have not spoken to police.
“I don’t know if I have it in me to forgive you, but whoever you are that did this, that robbed us and her children of at least 60 years more of her life, have a heart. Have some compassion and empathy,” says Vanessa.
Tanya was a 36-year-old aboriginal woman and the mother of five children.
Her sister also took the opportunity Friday to appeal to Canadians to take seriously the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the country.
“This is an epidemic in this country and I’m not going to stop saying it. As Canadians we all need to start stepping up. We all need to be changemakers. I am. Are you? If you see something and it doesn’t agree with you, don’t stand by and be idle,” says Vanessa.
“Just because I’m Indigenous doesn’t mean I’m worthless and it certainly doesn’t mean she was worthless. She mattered. All First Nations women and girls in this country, nationally and globally, matter.”
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be releasing its report publicly on June 3.
Brooks’s homicide is a part of the Nova Scotia Justice Department’s Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program, which offers up to $150,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in certain cases.