At least 100 people gathered in front of Unicity Taxi headquarters Wednesday night in honour of a young First Nations woman who was hurt and spoke out after an altercation with a cab driver.
Serenity Morrisseau says a Unicity Taxi driver assaulted her and locked her inside the cab, speeding off in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving two of her friends standing in the middle of the road.
Unicity says videos from inside the taxi, which have been downloaded for police, show that the driver was the one who was attacked.
At the march, Morrisseau’s mother, Tracy Bone, says her daughter has physical and emotional injuries from the incident, and she’s grateful for the community support and willingness of others to come forward.
“Giving everyone a chance to share their experiences and equally their resolutions for how we can change this, how we can make our streets safer,” she said.
The group met at the Manitoba legislature and walked together, down Portage Avenue, to the Unicity Taxi headquarters on Hargrave Street.
In a video of Morrisseau’s experience posted on Facebook, the voices of two women can be heard swearing and shouting for the driver to unlock Morrisseau’s door as he drove away.
Another voice fading into the distance screams “help me.”
“I was triggered by the screams of the video, because this could be like before they go missing,” said Jo Seenie, who helped organize the event.
She said she has daughters and is a volunteer searcher for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“The violence against our women needs to stop … we’re here to say that we are somebody, we have lives, we deserve to live, and we deserve to be protected and raise our children in a healthy way.”
She’s calling on those who have experienced abuse and harassment in taxi cabs to come forward to her so the stories can be documented.
‘Don’t have faith in that system’
Bone said she has not seen any video of the incident from inside the cab. She said her daughter filed a complaint with Winnipeg police as well as Unicity Taxi, but so far, they’ve received no response.
“I honestly have no faith in that. Because history has shown me that I shouldn’t. Even though for all these years I have hoped,” she said.
“And I think that’s the case, I can only speak for myself, but from everyone that’s reached out to me and shared their stories they don’t have faith in that system or any of these systems, to be honest with you.”
Kimberly Larsen is one of them. The grandmother was among several women who used a loudspeaker to share their stories in front of the Unicity building.
She said seven years ago, she and her baby grandson took a cab home from her friend’s house. She said the driver tossed her and her grandson out of the cab, in the middle of winter, because he wanted cash when she only had debit.
“It was shocking. That’s never happened to me before, ever,” she said.
She said she also filed a complaint with Unicity Taxi.
“They said someone would call me back, I never received a phone call back, and I did call the police and I never heard back from them either,” she said.
The peaceful protest dispersed shortly after 7:30 p.m.
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